This beautifully produced book is a fascinating tour of botanical knowledge for beginners, gardeners and experienced plant lovers alike. The book is organised in chapters focussing on different parts of a plant and their functions (eg roots, flowers etc). Each chapter is concisely written in small sections, using individual plant species as case studies to explore a wide variety of aspects of plant adaptations and lifestyles. The text is supported by beautiful photographs and illustrations, including clear diagrams to show the parts of a plant, the different types of leaves and flowers and important processes that take place in the plant, such as pollination. The focus is on flowering plants, but also considers conifers, ferns and mosses.
This botanical compendium covers all you need to know about how plants work from photosynthesis to pollination, and is full of fascinating snippets of information such as:
how Lambs Ears can protect themselves against drought;
why the flowers of Mophead Hydrangeas vary in colour so much;
how some spring bulbs can move within the soil;
how horsetails deter herbivores from eating them;
how mangroves survive in salt water environments;
why Quaking Aspens are able to regrow even after forest fires;
how the Sacred Lotus keeps itself clean;
how the leaves of the Giant Water Lily stay afloat;
how some flowers are able to close at night;
why chestnuts aren't really nuts;
why dandelions are so successful;
the role mosses can play in ecosystem regeneration.
The book also showcases artistic responses to plants, including paintings by artists including Vincent van Gogh and Albrecht Durer. There are brief articles on the history of Herbals; the Arts and Craft Movement (featuring the artist William Morris), Chinese and Japanese art and pioneering female botanists.
A comprehensive glossary completes this useful and fascinating volume.
Much more than an attractive coffee table book, this is a beautiful and fascinating read for anyone interested in plants. Even though I have a Botany degree, I learned new information from this book.
Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.