Did the people of the past consider plants alive? If so, how did they come to the idea that plants have something in common with animals?

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    The word you are looking for is animism. – yannis Mar 18 '17 at 12:03
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    Plants grow. There is a clear and unambiguous difference between a live plant and a dead plant. Is there something I'm missing, or is this question both trivial and not historical. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 19 '17 at 3:05
  • @Mark C. Wallace some other things can grow as well: crystals, sand hills, snow and ice deposits, icicles, forest fires, etc. But plants are not moving while all animals are moving. – Anixx Mar 19 '17 at 3:50
  • @MarkC.Wallace, animals bleed red, plants do not. Internal structure is markedly different in animals and plants. In the bible plants were created on day three, animals on days five and six, so somebody seems to have thought that there is a difference between animals and plants. – user3769 Mar 19 '17 at 23:23
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    Writers of Star Trek episodes often didn't consider plants alive. Often there would be reports that there was no life detected on a planet while plants were visible in some scenes set on the planet. Today 03-23-2017 I saw the planet in "By Any Other Name" described as having no life forms with trees and bushes visible everywhere. A later scene even had characters mention the flowers on the planet. I wonder what was the latest Star Trek episode where plants were not considered life forms. – MAGolding Mar 24 '17 at 2:59


You do not need to look further than Aristotle. In On the soul, he considered plants to have a "soul" (we would perhaps instead call it "essence") which made them capable of two things: reproduction and growth. The "souls" of animals also gave them the power to sense the world and move in it, and the human "soul" gave rational thought.

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