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Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World

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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.


"A gloriously illustrated celebration of the history, utility, diversity, and sheer wonder of the botanical world that powers our planet."--Washington Independent Review of Books This overview of the botanical world takes the usefulness of plants to humans as its starting point. Key plants--10 or so in each category--are divided into medicines, materials, foods and flavours, with brief and elegant essays devoted to topics such as olives, asparagus, hops, aloe, flax, bamboo and wheat.--Telegraph (UK) "This very handsome book provides interesting, particularly historical, information about plants of use and interest to a wide readership.--Choice "It's readable, interestingand full of colorful facts--botanical, medical, historical, culinary--that keep the reader turning the pages. The writing is in a loose, scholarly style that feels open and accessible to a general readership. This is the kind of book you want to read and then give to your friends and family to read."--Huntia "This beautifully produced volume reminds me of a Ken Burns video production. . . . Most of the images in this book are black and white or sepia and accompanied by engaging, authoritative yet accessible knowledge. The images are a gallery of exquisite botanical illustrations."--Economic Botany "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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