So, I've read some similar topics and none of them match perfectly;

The book I read has a scientist communicating with trees (possibly on a foreign planet?) and studying them. The trees respond to music (played on the flute, if I remember correctly). The local natives, at one point in the story, don't believe that the "junior" scientist is really showing them a message from the "senior" scientist, because it's on a laptop, and while they had learned to read, they don't understand enough to know that she didn't just type the message herself, and that it's really from the senior scientist. That's about all I can remember.

  • Do you remember when you read it, what language?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 17:48
  • 1
    Could it be Green Thumb as in scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/167230/…?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 18:19
  • It has trees controlled by a flute (later a whistle, and simply whistling) and there's at least two scientists, one male and one female.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 18:19
  • Does "Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card involve playing music to the trees? (Sorry, it's been a while since I read it.)
    – NiceOrc
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 22:47
  • 2
    @NiceOrc In Speaker for the Dead they communicate with the trees by drumming on the trunk with sticks. The tree changes its internal structure to create different harmonics in order to communicate. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


Posting as an answer from my comment above. OP thinks it's the right answer but never confirmed it.

Quoting from my answer to Book about a boy that controls plants by whistling?

Green Thumb by Rob Thomas. Found it by searching for site:goodreads.com boy plants whistling which led me to this guy looking for the same book who mentions whistling and plants.

Green Thumb - book cover

Thirteen-year-old genius Grady Jacobs thinks junior high is a snore. His radical science experiments have earned him plenty of national awards, but not a lot of friends. So when an invitation comes to join the famous scientist, Dr. Carter, in the Brazilian rain forest, Grady is on the next plane to the Amazon. But Grady's ultimate field trip turns ultimately awful when he discovers what Dr. Carter is really up to: he isn't there to save the rain forest -- he is there to destroy it! Can one eight-grade science whiz put a stop to Dr. Carter's evil plans? He can when he is joined by the Urah-Wau tribe of Indians and a supernatural power that no amount of science can ever explain.

Google Books shows a few references to him controlling the genetically modified trees with whistling:

I whistle on my lit-zi as he coils to jump again. The tree's branches bend up with all the flexibility possible. The bananas are safely out of his reach.

There is a chief who is missing his tongue, although I can't quite figure out how he lost it (it shows up in a bag). The main villain is caught by grabbing them with vines and threatening them with the poisonous fruit on the trees.

  • Thanks FuzzyBoots! This is the correct story! I have just ordered two copies! So excited to read it over again, and to share it with my nephews and other family.
    – Henry151
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 23:42
  • Glad I could help. And welcome back to the site.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 4:26

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