How Plants Work
Form, Diversity, Survival
Written by a British botanist, with contributions from a range of specialists, this detailed exploration of the world of plants includes many explanatory and colourful photographs and diagrams. Starting from morphology, and the way that everything from vines to giant redwoods descended from simple algaes, it takes a tour of the parts of a plant, from roots to buds, and apical meristems to zygotes.
An Urban Tree Guide
‘A tree guide filtered through cities as well as a city book filtered through trees’, Sylvan Cities introduces some of the species that grow in urban parks and gardens, and along canals, cycle paths and city streets. As well as helping to identify trees in British cities, the book visits species in foreign countries, including Alders in Venice and Wild Cherries in Hiroshima, and tells the stories of urban wooded places and the ‘wild things’ that live in them.
The Secret Language of Trees
This illustrated compendium offers information such as the Latin name, habitat, history, associations, intriguing facts and famous quotes pertaining to 50 genera of trees from around the world. It also contains chapters that cover the spiritual and medicinal properties of trees, how they have inspired the work of artists, authors and composers over the centuries and the threats posed to them by fungi, parasites and humans.
The Cabaret of Plants
Botany and The Imagination
Challenging the view of plants as passive vegetation, Mabey approaches them as ’authors of their own lives’ and explores our relationship with them, from prehistoric cave painting, through cultivation and exploration to the ‘astonishing revelations of 19th-century botany’. Among the intriguing plants whose lives he discusses are the baobab tree; ginseng, the panacea; the carnivorous tipitiwitchet; an Amazonian giant water lily whose leaves were the model for the Crystal Palace; and the intelligence of mimosa.
The Smallest Kingdom
Plants and Plant Collectors at the Cape of Good Hope
An ornithologist and a botanical artist, Mike and Liz Fraser lived at the Cape for twelve years, marvelling at the wild flowers and retracing the journeys of the first European plant hunters to visit this ‘botanical treasurehouse’. Illustrated with drawings, watercolours and colour photographs, their book begins with the early Portuguese and Dutch explorers and includes Kew’s first international collector, Francis Masson, as it follows the history of botany and botanical exploration at the Cape up to present-day research at Kirstenbosch.
A Cultural History
Jim Endersby explores ‘the curious and unexpected variety of significances that people have ascribed to orchids’ in western cultures, from Theophrastus’ herbals in ancient Greece to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, deadly species in science-fiction and ongoing research into Spider Orchids on the South Downs. The book looks at our relationship with orchids in terms of science, sex and death, and examines the theme of empire, describing how European imperial expansion and wealth stimulated the search for ever rarer orchids.
The Wild Flora of Kew Gardens
A Cumulative Checklist from 1759
Famed for cultivating plants from around the world, Kew Gardens is also home to many uncultivated species. Drawing on historic citations and herbarium specimen records, this illustrated catalogue lists all native and alien flora documented growing wild at Kew since its foundation in 1759.
In close-up photographs of flowers and their pollinators, the wildlife photographer Heather Angel reveals the key floral parts which aid reproduction and shows precisely how and where pollen is transferred to particular visitors. Taken in Kew Gardens, her own garden in Surrey and 20 different countries, the photographs include studies of wind pollination as well as bees, blister beetles and butterflies, a honey possum and many different birds, all captured in the act of pollinating. Slightly off-mint.
Starting his career as assistant-surgeon aboard HMS Erebus as it set off on a four-year scientific expedition to the Antarctic, Joseph Hooker (1817–1911) is now recognized as one of the founding fathers of botany. This concise, richly illustrated account traces his life and travels and discusses some of the hundreds of plants he collected and identified.
A Concise Pictorial Guide
After briefly explaining the classification of plants, this introduction to the world’s flora comprises descriptions of more than 100 flowering plant (angiosperm) families, arranged alphabetically within two groups: the dicotyledons and the monocotyledons. For each family, the text presents a botanical description along with information on distribution and economic uses, while colour artworks and captions illustrate the plants’ key features. The book ends with a glossary and an index of common and scientific names.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
A celebratory anthology of plants and flowers, this Florilegium was created by today’s botanical artists to mark the 200th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Australia’s extraordinary flora has beguiled botanists and plant collectors since Sir Joseph Banks, who arrived in Sydney Cove in 1770, and each of the 85 plants depicted in this volume is accompanied by notes on its history, including early admirers among plant hunters, as well as a botanical description.
Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World
The botanist Ben-Erik van Wyk presents a fully illustrated, scientific guide to nearly all the commercial herbs and spices in use today. After chapters on the history of spices and culinary traditions and lists of common names, the A to Z covers over 150 species, from Aframomum corrorima (Ethiopian cardamom) to Zingiber officinale (ginger), each illustrated entry giving details of the spice or herb, the plant, its origins, cultivation and culinary use and the chemistry of its flavour.
An A–Z Adventure through the Plant Kingdom
From the Alcoholic Agave, remarkable for its nine-metre high flower as well as its intoxicating sap, to Zoophilous plants and their cunning ways of attracting animal pollinators, this is an A–Z of botanical heroes, villains and eccentrics. The heroes are explorers and botanists such as Charles Darwin and EH Wilson; the villains include the deadly castor oil plant, described under U for Umbrella Assassinations. Slightly off-mint.
Ancient Trees of the National Trust
After an introduction explaining the process of ageing in trees and their biological and environmental importance, the National Trust’s Ancient Tree Adviser Brian Muelaner and photographer Edward Parker survey the ancient trees in 40 National Trust properties, arranged alphabetically from Ankerwycke in Surrey, where the Magna Carta may have been signed under the great Ankerwycke Yew, to Sir Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire.
11 Explorations into Life on Earth
Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures have been televised since 1966. Introduced by David Attenborough, this selection explores the mysteries of human and animal behaviour, and includes talks by Desmond Morris, Richard Dawkins and Sue Hartley.
Stories of Botanical Exploration
Since the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, scientists have been intrigued by the nutritional, medicinal and decorative potential of plants. Societies have revolved around the trade in spices, fruit and vegetables, and fortunes have been made from it. Illustrated with historical engravings, lithographs and hand-coloured botanical illustrations, this volume celebrates the investigation, appreciation and exploitation of plants through the ages, the lives and adventures of the plant-hunters, and the books that document their discoveries.
The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World
With over 200 images, renowned wildlife photographer Bob Gibbons presents his personal pick of the world’s most ‘flowery’ places for armchair readers and travellers alike. From clovers on the Lizard Peninsula to the home of the tulip in Kazakhstan’s Tien Shan Mountains, each location is accompanied by a map, information on local ecology and conservation status, and details of animals in the region. All sites are accessible and some visitor information is included alongside useful websites.
The British Oak
Visiting trees with names like ‘The Monarch’ and ‘Old Knobbley’, Archie Miles’s well illustrated book combines profiles of 50 famous old oaks with an overview of the oak tree in British culture, society and economy. There are chapters on the history of the oak, its place in myth and folklore, art and literature, and its vital role in building and ship-building, but also in many smaller industries, from tanning and pannage (pigs foraging for acorns) to charcoal burning and fish smoking.
The Tree that has Nourished, Healed, and Inspired Through the Ages
One of humankind’s oldest companions, the hawthorn tree is embedded in the memory of every culture across the northern hemisphere. This informative book explores the little-recognized political, cultural and natural history of the plant. Its fruits made the first wine, its flowers and thorns played a key role in pagan and Christian symbolism, and for thousands of years it was used to create the impenetrable hedges that have shaped the landscape of Europe.
Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean
This authoritative pocket guide identifies 530 of the most widespread and eye-catching flowering plants growing around the Mediterranean. The key is divided by flower colour, number of petals, and plants with inconspicuous flowers like trees and ferns. Illustrated with large-format colour photos, each entry includes common and scientific names, and describes plant uses, habitats and similar species.
A History of Conflict, Loss, Remembrance & Redemption
Long before the corn poppy became associated with remembrance of the First World War through John McCrae's poem 'In Flanders Fields', it had grown wherever ground was broken by conflict, cultivation or burial. The opium poppy has a different affinity with war, alleviating the suffering of its victims and inciting battles over its control. In this history of the iconic plant, the author explores its differing uses and associations, from the remedies of the Ancient Egyptians to the narcotics trade in present-day Afghanistan.
The Cabaret of Plants
Botany and the Imagination
Challenging the view of plants as passive vegetation, Mabey approaches them as ’authors of their own lives’ and explores our relationship with them, from prehistoric cave painting, through cultivation and exploration to the ‘astonishing revelations of 19th-century botany’. Among the intriguing plants whose lives he discusses are the baobab tree; ginseng, the panacea; the carnivorous tipitiwitchet; an Amazonian giant water lily whose leaves were the model for the Crystal Place; and the intelligence of mimosa.