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Home » Books » Science » Nature » Trees & Forests

Ginkgo

The Tree That Time Forgot

By Peter Crane, Pollyanna Von Knorring (Illustrated by)

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Format: Paperback, 408 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 March 2015
The life story of a very special tree, from the age of dinosaurs to the twenty-first century Perhaps the world's most distinctive tree, ginkgo has remained stubbornly unchanged for more than two hundred million years. A living link to the age of dinosaurs, it survived the great ice ages as a relic in China, but it earned its reprieve when people first found it useful about a thousand years ago. Today ginkgo is beloved for the elegance of its leaves, prized for its edible nuts, and revered for its longevity. This engaging book tells the rich and engaging story of a tree that people saved from extinction-a story that offers hope for other botanical biographies that are still being written. Inspired by the historic ginkgo that has thrived in London's Kew Gardens since the 1760s, renowned botanist Peter Crane explores the history of the ginkgo from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence. Crane also highlights the cultural and social significance of the ginkgo: its medicinal and nutritional uses, its power as a source of artistic and religious inspiration, and its importance as one of the world's most popular street trees. Readers of this book will be drawn to the nearest ginkgo, where they can experience firsthand the timeless beauty of the oldest tree on Earth.

About the Author

Peter Crane is Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean and professor, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, and former director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. He was awarded the 2014 International Prize for Biology by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Crane divides his time between Oak Park, IL, and New Haven, CT.

Reviews

"This intelligent, literate history is so enticing it will leave you greedy for more."--Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review"You might think you'd have to be a scholarly sort of tree hugger to wrap your mind around GINKGO: The Tree That Time Forgot, by Peter Crane, but this intelligent, literate history is so enticing it will leave you greedy for more."--Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review"It's a personable story, as Crane examines the fossil record seeking to trace the plant's evolution and the tree's cultural impact."--The Chicago Tribune"Ginkgo cranei, an extinct species of the family, is named after the author who lived beside the UK's oldest Ginkgo while he was director of Kew Gardens. This qualification is dwarfed by the depth of Crane's knowledge and the sparkle of his prose. He also reminds us why conservation matters: 'Letting species go extinct when we have the power to intervene is like letting a library burn just when we are learning how to read.'"--Jane Owen, The Financial Times"An entertaining introduction to botanical lore."--Kirkus Reviews"Among a clutch of new books, Ginkgo has all the right ingredients. It is one of those rare works written by a scholar whose passion for his subject makes you want to go out and hug a ginkgo--or at least seek one out to examine it more closely."--New Scientist"Readers of this fascinating history will be glad to know there is at least one life-form that owes its survival, not its destruction, to humans."--Scientific American"After reading this captivating book, you will never simply just look at a tree of any species again, and most certainly not a ginkgo, without pondering its cultural importance, how it came to be growing in this place at this time, and its reproductive biology, economic uses, and phylogenetic position."--J. C. McElwain, Science"Highly recommended."--Choice"Apart from covering all the main aspects of the biology, growth, history and cultivation of Ginkgo, it includes a fascinating account of the study of fossil plants and of the personalities involved . . . This is a delightful book to read, alike to botanists and to anyone with an interest in trees."--Martyn Rix, Curtis's Botanical Magazine"Encyclopedic in breadth and depth, this 'global biography' of the ginkgo is an elegant account infused with the writer's sense of wonderment for his subject. Reading it will likely make you seek out the nearest specimen to appreciate it anew."--Key Reporter"This engaging book uses Ginkgo as a point of departure to examine a wide range of topics--the history of botanical exploration in China and Japan, as well as plant anatomy, physiology, evolution, extinction, and conservation. . . . It is both scholarly and accessible."--Scott Wing, Smithsonian Institution"Ginkgo takes a place among the best books on plants that I have had the pleasure of reading. It provides an extremely interesting account of a remarkable plant through space, time, and culture."--Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden"My favorite Ginkgo is the iconic 'over my dead body' in Hibiya Park in Tokyo. Peter Crane's book will enchant both experts and newcomers to these splendid plants."--Robert M May, University of Oxford"Peter Crane provides a compelling and definitive portrait of the Tree That Time Forgot: its ancient lineage, its natural history, and history interwoven with people . . . an eye-opening page turner about the Ginkgo in particular and trees in general. A triumph of beautifully written scholarship."--Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University"The Ginkgo is the elder statesman of the plant world, and Peter Crane's erudite and fascinating biography is as absorbing as any account of the life of a Churchill or a Lincoln."--Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, The Independent, London "This engaging book uses Ginkgo as a point of departure to examine a wide range of topics--the history of botanical exploration in China and Japan, as well as plant anatomy, physiology, evolution, extinction, and conservation. . . . It is both scholarly and accessible."--Scott Wing, Smithsonian Institution "Ginkgo takes a place among the best books on plants that I have had the pleasure of reading. It provides an extremely interesting account of a remarkable plant through space, time, and culture."--Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden "My favorite Ginkgo is the iconic 'over my dead body' in Hibiya Park in Tokyo. Peter Crane's book will enchant both experts and newcomers to these splendid plants."--Robert M May, University of Oxford "Peter Crane provides a compelling and definitive portrait of the Tree That Time Forgot: its ancient lineage, its natural history, and history interwoven with people. . . . an eye-opening page turner about the Ginkgo in particular and trees in general. A triumph of beautifully written scholarship."--Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University "A remarkable book about a remarkable tree that came through from the age of the dinosaurs in one corner of China, and has now repopulated parks and gardens all over the world. An important biography of the ultimate survivor."--Richard Fortey, author of Horseshoe Crabs & Velvet Worms

EAN: 9780300213829
ISBN: 0300213824
Publisher: Yale University Press
Dimensions: 22.61 x 17.53 x 2.03 centimetres (0.63 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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