Plant tropisms as a window on plant computational processes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Plants are living information-processing organisms with highly adaptive behavior, allowing them to prosper in a harsh and fluctuating environment in spite of being sessile. Lacking a central nervous system, plants are distributed systems orchestrating complex computational processes performed at the tissue level. Here I consider plant tropisms as a useful input–output system boasting a robust mathematical description, naturally permitting a dialogue between mathematical modeling and biological observations. I propose tropisms as an ideal framework for the study of plant computational processes, allowing us to infer the relationship between observed tropic responses and known stimuli. I concentrate on macroscopic models, and elucidate this approach by presenting recent examples focusing on computational processes involved at different hierarchical levels of interactions: a plant's interaction with itself and its internal state, with the abiotic environment, and with neighboring plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1911-1916
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • computational processes
  • distributed systems
  • information-processing
  • mathematical models
  • plant tropisms

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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