cover of book

Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World
by Helen Bynum and William Bynum
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Cloth: 978-0-226-20474-1
Library of Congress Classification SB450.97.B96 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 635

Imagine a typical morning--munching on a bowl of cereal, sipping coffee, dressing for the day, riding to work. Every moment of this common routine draws on the power of plants, and the centuries of development that brought wheat, coffee beans, cotton, and rubber--among many others--into our daily lives.

Remarkable Plants celebrates the wonder and utility of the green kingdom, taking a detailed look at how plants have shaped our world. It focuses on eighty key species and richly explores their history, highlighting their importance and bringing to light surprising stories. Organized thematically into eight sections, the book starts with “Transformers” (including rice, beans, olives) and moves through sections such as “Heal and Harm” (poppy, aloe, strychnos) and “Revered and Adored” (lotus, frankincense, rose). Each species is introduced with its common and scientific names and followed by an exploration of its cultural, historical, botanical, and symbolic associations. Hundreds of botanical illustrations show full plants as well as highlight distinctive leaves, blooms, and fruits.

Rooted in one of the world’s most important and renowned temples of greenery, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Remarkable Plants is a symbiotic balance of science and art that will open readers’ eyes to the deep influence of the natural world on our modern one.

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