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Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World
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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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About the Author

William F. Bynum is professor emeritus of the UCL Centre for the History of Medicine in London. Helen Bynum is a historian of science and medicine. Together they have edited Great Discoveries in Medicine and Dictionary of Medical Biography.

Reviews

""Remarkable Plants" is readable and engaging. There is much discussion of species beyond 'the usual suspects' which appear in books on plants aimed at the general reader. A fantastic range of visual material."--Noel Kingsbury, author of Gardening with Perennials and Hybrid ""Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World" is a quietly lavish book that gathers together the history of human use of a wide array of plants world-wide. The book is divided into sections, treating plants used as major food crops, spices, drugs, building materials, cash crops, ornamentals, sacred plants and, in a fun final flourish, curiosities. . . . A candy box for the curious."--A Best Nature Book of 2014 "Wall Street Journal " "Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World" is a quietly lavish book that gathers together the history of human use of a wide array of plants world-wide. The book is divided into sections, treating plants used as major food crops, spices, drugs, building materials, cash crops, ornamentals, sacred plants and, in a fun final flourish, curiosities. . . . A candy box for the curious."--A Best Nature Book of 2014 "Wall Street Journal "" "Remarkable Plants" is readable and engaging. There is much discussion of species beyond 'the usual suspects' which appear in books on plants aimed at the general reader. A fantastic range of visual material. --Noel Kingsbury, author of Gardening with Perennials and Hybrid" "Remarkable Plants is readable and engaging. There is much discussion of species beyond 'the usual suspects' which appear in books on plants aimed at the general reader. A fantastic range of visual material."--Noel Kingsbury, author of Gardening with Perennials and Hybrid "Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World is a quietly lavish book that gathers together the history of human use of a wide array of plants world-wide. The book is divided into sections, treating plants used as major food crops, spices, drugs, building materials, cash crops, ornamentals, sacred plants and, in a fun final flourish, curiosities. . . . A candy box for the curious."--A Best Nature Book of 2014 "Wall Street Journal "

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