Plants Take A Chance
They are less than pea brains; they are no brains. ~ Argentine-English ethologist Alex Kacelnik
Assessing the probabilities of favorable outcomes given an ample array of options is a cognitive skill known as risk sensitivity. To be able to do so with no material substrate for thought belies matterism.
Past experience and calculation of relative gain determine decisions in plants just as they do in animals. In one set of experiments, pea plants were given the opportunity to select, via root growth, areas which either had a consistent amount of nutrients or fluctuating food levels. When nutrients were abundant where they were, plants played it safe, opting for consistency. But when living in suboptimal soil, plants preferred to take a risk.
In bad conditions, the only chance of success is to take a chance and hope it works out, and that’s what plants are doing. ~ English behavioral psychologist Nick Chater