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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 28, 2000

Kalevi Kull
Pages 326-350

An introduction to phytosemiotics
Semiotic botany and vegetative sign systems

Asking, whether plants have semiosis, the article gives a review of the works on phytosemiotics, referring to the tradition in botany that has seen plants as non-mechanic systems. This approach can use the concept of biological need as the primary holistic process in living systems. Demonstrating the similarity between the need and semiosis, it is concluded that sign is a meronomic entity. A distinction between five levels of sign systems is proposed: cellular, vegetative, animal, linguistic, and cultural. Vegetative sign systems are those which are responsible for the morphogenesis and differentiation within an organism, thus belonging to all multicellular organisms.

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