Do you have ‘plant blindness’? Here’s how you can avoid it

Can you remember the last plant you saw? I can’t either and no, don’t worry, that’s normal and that’s called ‘Plant blindness.’ It is being unable to recognize or notice plants in your surroundings and it is because to many humans, most plants almost always look alike and we tend to group them together in one image, whereas animals look uniquely different from each other and have human-like characteristics that we find easy to relate to ourselves.

Plant blindness is crucial because interest in plant biology courses is declining. Plant research is important because more than 28,000 plant species are used for medicines and a lot are probably not discovered yet. Fundings for plants is also low, particularly to preserve endangered species, because humans prioritize animals more.

Being exposed to plants often can actually reduce your plant blindness. ‘Treeversity,’ a project at Harvard University, aims to help ordinary people classify images of plants. Using art to make plants familiar to people is also effective. A good example of this is how fictional characters like ‘Groot,’ a tree-trunk superhero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and ‘McPedro,’ a cactus from Girls with Slingshots, actually made people converse about plants.

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