This episode is for all those people who have turned to gardening or amassed houseplants during the Covid lockdowns as we’ll be talking about Lessons from Plants. In it, the biochemist Beronda Montgomery explores the vigorous and creative life of organisms often treated as static and predictable. Writing about plants’ fascinating ability to perceive, adapt, communicate, decision-make and collaborate, Montgomery asks us to consider the question: What would a plant do?

We discuss what agriculture got wrong about plants’ symbiotic relationships, how caring for plants can help educators create an environment in which students thrive, and talk to Montgomery about converting knowledge of science into lessons for being better humans.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

If you’d like your own copy of Lessons from Plants, you can find it on or

Next time, we’ll be talking about Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures by Adam Zmith. The book blends historical research with wry observation to tell the story of how amyl nitrites wafted out of the lab and into gay bars, corner shops and bedrooms.

If you, dear listener, have any thoughts on Lessons from Plants or know of a book you would like us to discuss in an upcoming book club, let us know in the comments below or tweet at us @ChemistryWorld.