In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant—though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?
In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings—and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?
Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.
From the Hardcover edition.
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
National Best Seller
Named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People"
An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016
A Washington Post Best Memoir of 2016
A TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.
Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.
Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.
Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.
Edible Wild Plants for Beginners will help you explore the world of edible wild plants and teach you how to use them in your home and kitchen, with:
• More than 95 easy-to-follow edible wild plants recipes and remedies, including Amaranth Vegetable Curry, Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes, Chamomile Cookies, and a Purslane Martini
• Tips for foraging, harvesting, and cultivating edible wild plants
• Techniques for serving, preserving, and cooking with edible wild plants
• 31 edible wild plant profiles, including descriptions, distinguishing features, preparation and collection tips, and common uses
• 10 simple steps to making tinctures
• A guide to identifying edible wild plants and avoiding common poisonous plants
With Edible Wild Plants for Beginners, you'll be able to start living sustainably, saving money, and adding variety to your diet the way nature intended.
Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States also offers practical advice on preparing, storing, drying, and cooking with wild mushrooms, presenting more than two dozen tantalizing mushroom recipes from some of the best restaurants and chefs in Illinois, including one of Food & Wine magazine's top 10 new chefs of 2007. Recipes include classics like Beer Battered Morels, Parasol Mushroom Frittatas, and even the highly improbable (yet delectable) Morel Tiramisu for dessert.
As the first new book about Illinois mushrooms in more than eighty years, this is the guide that mushroom hunters and cooks have been craving.
Visit the book's companion website at www.illinoismushrooms.com.
Menacing botanical illustrations and splendidly ghastly drawings create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, alarm, and enlighten even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.
Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, this book helps the reader identify mushrooms with the use of illustrations, descriptions, and environmental observations. Russell’s fifty years of experience in hunting, studying, and teaching about wild mushrooms have been carefully distilled into this easy-to-use and well-designed guide. The book is divided into the four seasons, each with its unique mushroom offerings. Each mushroom section includes a detailed description, information about the mushroom’s biology, tips on where the mushroom is most likely to be found, and a short “nutshell” description for quick reference. The book also includes color photographs of each of the mushrooms described.
Russell’s Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic shows the reader not only how to identify the most common mushrooms found in the region but also how to avoid common copycats—and what to do with the mushrooms once they’re identified and harvested. With both color illustrations and insightful descriptions of one hundred of the area’s most common mushrooms, Field Guide is an indispensable reference for the curious hiker, the amateur biologist, or the adventurous chef.
As development and subsequent habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. But there is an important and simple step toward reversing this alarming trend: Everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity. There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction has been so extensive that local wildlife is in crisis and may be headed toward extinction.
Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being, and the new paperback edition—with an expanded resource section and updated photos—will help broaden the movement. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical recommendations, everyone can make a difference.
Foundation greens: wild spinach, chickweed, mallow, purslane; tart greens: curlydock, sheep sorrel, wood sorrel; pungent greens: wild mustard, wintercress, garlic mustard,shepherd’s purse; and bitter greens: dandelion, cat’s ear, sow thistle, nipplewort.
Dr. John Kallas has investigated and taught about edible wild plants since 1970. He founded WildFood Adventures (www.wildfoodadventures.com) in 1993 and is the publisher and editor of Wild FoodAdventurer. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
The definitive work on growing, harvesting, and eating wild greens.
The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Forager, farmer, teacher, and chef Chris Bennett helps you find the most delicious plants—from delectable wild greens, like the often-overlooked sweet, fan-shaped leaves of common mallow to wild hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and fruity black walnuts. Try making syrup from summer’s honeysuckle blooms, simmer a rosehip jam, or pickle some blackberries in vinegar to spark up a savory dish. Whether you venture out on the water for cattail corndogs and wild rice or stay close to home for the candy-crunch of hackberry fruits, this book will help you find an abundance of wild plants right outside your door.
A section on mushroom arts and crafts features mushroom photography, painting, philately, spore prints, dyes, and cultivation. The guide also offers a comprehensive list of resources including national field guides, general mushroom books and periodicals, club and society contact information, and web sites.
· Primary descriptions and illustrations of 300 species of mushrooms plus text descriptions of many more.
· Latest word in mushroom taxonomy and nomenclature. Clear discussion of DNA sequencing and new classifications.
· Especially good coverage of southern California and Southwestern mushrooms often neglected in other field guides.
The plants are organized by habitat communities. Description, photos, drawings, and distribution information are given. Where poisonous look-alikes exist, they too are illustrated. Much fascinating information about Indian uses of native and introduced species is included.
The author emphasizes conservation considerations; the aim of the book is to educate the reader about intriguing uses of the plants, and to tell how to gather and use the most palatable and abundant species without damaging the environment.
In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion's feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to Thor Hanson and this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more.
What makes The Triumph of Seeds remarkable is not just that it is informative, humane, hilarious, and even moving, just as what makes seeds remarkable is not simply their fundamental importance to life. In both cases, it is their sheer vitality and the delight that we can take in their existence—the opportunity to experience, as Hanson puts it, “the simple joy of seeing something beautiful, doing what it is meant to do.” Spanning the globe from the Raccoon Shack—Hanson's backyard writing hideout-cum-laboratory—to the coffee shops of Seattle, from gardens and flower patches to the spice routes of Kerala, this is a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A worthy heir to the grand tradition of Aldo Leopold and Bernd Heinrich, The Triumph of Seeds takes us on a fascinating scientific adventure through the wild and beautiful world of seeds. It is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow.
Discover such aspects of mushrooming as:
• Characteristics of edible mushrooms, per species
• Cooking, cleaning, and drying the day’s bounty
• Edible, inedible, or toxic? Photographs and descriptions for what to pick and what to avoid
• Poisonous varieties and how to recognize them
All content has been verified by a professional mycologist. Plus, nature and educational photographs illustrate how mushrooms grow, the environments where you can expect to find them, and the ways in which the same species may vary from one sample to the next. So whether you’re an experienced mushroom hunter or a novice to the art, with Edible Mushrooms you can confidently recognize, pick, and eat the tastiest wild mushrooms.
Brandywine Cottage is David Culp's beloved two-acre Pennsylvania garden where he mastered the design technique of layering—interplanting many different species in the same area so that as one plant passes its peak, another takes over. The result is a nonstop parade of color that begins with a tapestry of heirloom daffodils and hellebores in spring and ends with a jewel-like blend of Asian wildflowers at the onset of winter.
The Layered Garden shows you how to recreate Culp's majestic display. It starts with a basic lesson in layering—how to choose the correct plants by understanding how they grow and change throughout the seasons, how to design a layered garden, and how to maintain it. To illustrate how layering works, Culp takes you on a personal tour through each part of his celebrated garden: the woodland garden, the perennial border, the kitchen garden, the shrubbery, and the walled garden. The book culminates with a chapter dedicated to signature plants for all four seasons.
The invaluable introductory chapters discuss tree diversity in Central America and the basics of tree identification. Family and species accounts are treated alphabetically and describe family size, number of genera and species, floral characteristics, and relative abundance. Color distribution maps supplement the useful species descriptions, and facing-page photographic plates detail bark, leaf, flower, or fruit of the species featured. Helpful appendices contain a full glossary, a comprehensive guide to leaf forms, and a list of families not covered.The only tree guide to cover both Panama and Costa Rica together Covers almost 500 species 438 high-resolution color photos 480 color distribution maps and two general maps Concise and jargon-free descriptions of key characteristics for every species Full glossary and guide to leaf forms included
Like all of Howard Garrett's books, Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast is loaded with indispensable gardening information:Nearly 400 trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines, annuals and perennials, and grasses 400 full-color, close-up photos of the plants Expert information about each plant's appearance, growing requirements, landscape uses, potential problems, and other interesting facts Precise, easy-to-follow instructions about how to design a garden, prepare the soil, install trees and other plants, grow grass and control weeds, and maintain the landscape and control pests A detailed gardening calendar for Southeast Texas that lists specific plants to plant and maintenance tasks to perform each month
No other book currently available provides such extensive and reliable information for Texas Gulf Coast gardeners.
Plants are capable of interesting and unexpected things. Why do container plants wilt when they’ve been regularly watered? Why did the hydrangea that thrived last year never bloom this year? Why do slugs wipe out the vegetable garden instead of eating the weeds? Plant physiology—the study of how living things function—can solve these and most other problems gardeners regularly encounter.
In How Plants Work, horticulture expert and contributor to the popular blog The Garden Professors, Linda Chalker-Scott brings the stranger-than-fiction science of the plant world to vivid life. She uncovers the mysteries of how and why plants do the things they do, and arms the home gardener with fascinating knowledge that will change the way they garden.
* Identifies chaparral’s common plants, animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects
* Features 79 color illustrations, 56 black-and-white photographs, and 3 maps
* Examines the role of humans and fire in chaparral, covering the placement and design of homes, landscaping, and public policy
Picking mushrooms in the woods on a sunny day can be fun for the whole family . . . but only if you do it safely! There are thousands of different species of fungi, so it can be hard to tell which are edible and which are poisonous when you are picking them for yourself in the wild. Safe and unsafe species often closely resemble each other, and worrying about which mushrooms are safe and which might be deadly can take all the fun out of mushrooming. Enter Mushrooming with Confidence!
Improving on the usual overwhelming and exhaustive wild plant guidebook, Mushrooming with Confidence is a slim, handy manual that focuses on the tastiest and most common mushrooms, so that you can easily spot those that are not only safe to eat, but also a delight to cook and share!
Here mushrooms are divided into four identification categories so that anyone will be able to recognize what he or she is looking at quickly and correctly. Thirty of the most common and delicious types are explained in detail, from the common field mushroom to the pretty purple amethyst deceiver and the prolific and tasty charcoal burner. Each mushroom includes a “Positive ID Checklist” that the reader can go through to be absolutely certain they have the right species, and more than 300 color photographs make it a snap to know exactly what kind of mushroom you’ve found . . . and whether you really want to pick it!
With lists of the best tools for mushrooming, the best techniques for getting a mushroom out of the ground in one piece, and even how to remove worms, Mushrooming with Confidence will extinguish any fear or doubt that might stop you from hunting down your own delicious mushrooms. This will prove a fun and essential guide for novice and experienced pickers alike!
Engrossing, surprising, and packed with up-to-date science and cultural exploration, Mycophilia is part narrative and part primer for foodies, science buffs, environmental advocates, and anyone interested in learning a lot about one of the least understood and most curious organisms in nature.
For more than twenty years, mycology expert Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and conducting trials in search of the answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter not only offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices; he shares the results of his groundbreaking research and offers myriad ways to apply your cultivation skills and further incorporate mushrooms into your life—whether your goal is to help your community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale.
The book first guides readers through an in-depth exploration of indoor and outdoor cultivation. Covered skills range from integrating wood-chip beds spawned with king stropharia into your garden and building a “trenched raft” of hardwood logs plugged with shiitake spawn to producing oysters indoors on spent coffee grounds in a 4×4 space or on pasteurized sawdust in vertical plastic columns. For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter offers in-depth coverage of lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials.
Cotter also reports his groundbreaking research cultivating morels both indoors and out, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity. Readers will discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on your old denim jeans.
Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking—one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.
Southwest Foraging helps new and experienced foragers find the most flavorful wild plants the region has to offer, including barrel cactus, chickweed, Indian tea, and saguaro. This savvy, accessible, full-color guide shows you what to look for, when and where to look, and how to gather in a responsible way. It profiles 117 plants, with detailed information for safe identification, advice on sustainable harvesting, and tips on preparation and use.
Invasive plants are a growing threat to ecosystems everywhere. Often originating in distant climes, they spread to woodlands, wetlands, prairies, roadsides, and backyards that lack the biological controls which kept these plant populations in check in their homelands.
Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest includes more than 250 color photos that will help anyone identify problem trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, sedges, and herbaceous plants (including aquatic invaders). The text offers further details of plant identification; manual, mechanical, biological, and chemical control techniques; information and advice about herbicides; and suggestions for related ecological restoration and community education efforts. Also included are literature references, a glossary, a matrix of existing and potential invasive species in the Upper Midwest, an index with both scientific and common plant names, advice on state agencies to contact with invasive plant questions, and other helpful resources.
The information in this book has been carefully reviewed by staffs of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Endangered Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and other invasive plant experts.
The book's 24 chapters tackle every kind of gardening disaster, whether it has to do with plants, tools and techniques, or general care and maintenance. Gardeners looking to prune their roses will learn to hold off until late winter to avoid damaging plant tissue. Gardeners that have allowed their mint to overgrow? Dunn advises pulling it out and replanting it in a container to control the root.
Organized by common garden topics and designed to be easily dipped in and out of, The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers offers nuggets of wisdom based on Teri Dunn Chace's years of hands-on gardening experience. Advice is humorously supported by Colleen Coover's delightful illustrations. This accessible guide will transform an anxious gardener into an informed, confident, successful gardener with a mistake-free garden
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Kingdom Fungi provides a comprehensive look at the biology, structure, and morphological diversity of these necessary organisms. It sheds light on their ecologically important roles in nature, their fascinating relationships with people, plants, and animals, and their practical applications in the manufacture of food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. The book includes information about “true” fungi, fungus-like creatures (slime molds and water molds), and a group of “composite” organisms (lichens) that are more than just fungi. Particular attention is given to examples of fungi that might be found in the home and encountered in nature.
The Kingdom Fungi is a useful introductory text for naturalists, mycologists, and anyone who wants to become more familiar with, and more appreciative of, the fascinating world of fungi.
The Herbalist's Way includes time-honored healing wisdom from many cultures, as well as information on:
• Roles and responsibilities of herbalists in their communities
• Herbal workshops, conferences, and education centers
• Growing, drying, and preparing medicinal herbs
• Learning to listen to clients and recommend holistic treatments for healing and continued wellness
• Licensing, marketing, and other legal and business issues facing modern herbalists
• Comprehensive resources and suggestions for building your herbal library
• Growing and using in the garden
• Instructions for a variety of crafts and potpourris plus recipes for entrees, sides, and pastries
The leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of lavender are valuable for a variety of uses. This revised and updated edition of the best-selling guidebook gives instructions for growing and harvesting the popular aromatic herb, with ideas for using it in the garden landscape, in crafts, and in recipes. Projects are included for making potpourris, wreaths, garlands, arrangements, and even lavender-spiced chicken, halibut, potato salad, madeleines, and bread. An added section on festivals and farms offers travel opportunities for those who want to experience lavender culture. A full list of sources completes this definitive book.
THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WILD EDIBLE PLANTS describes the physical characteristics, habitat and distribution, and edible parts of wild plants. With color photography throughout, this guide facilitates the identification of these plants.
Originally intended for Army use, this book serves as a survival aid for civilians as well. Anyone interested in the outdoors, botany, or even in unusual sources of nutrition will find this an indispensable resource.
The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts provides everything one needs to know about the most commonly found wild foods—going beyond a field guide's basic description to provide folklore and mouth-watering recipes for each entry, such as wild asparagus pizza, fiddlehead soup, blackberry mousse, and elderberry pie. This fully illustrated guide is the perfect companion for hikers, campers, and anyone who enjoys eating the good food of the earth. With it in hand, nature lovers will never take another hike without casting their eyes about with dinner in mind.
Many small hostas are simply scaled-down versions of classic hostas, while others offer distinctly new attributes in terms of color, leaf shape, and patterning. Like full-size hostas, small hostas can be upright, flat, or cascading; there are varieties that are full of substance, and others that are fine and delicate; there are green ones, gold ones, blue ones, variegated ones, and splashed ones. Some are better garden plants than others, and a valuable function of this book is to showcase the very best of the new introductions. Photographs of the hostas in garden settings show how admirably they respond to imaginative display in a wide range of situations including waterside, woodland, and rock gardens.
Beautifully illustrated and highly informative, this handpicked selection of diminutive hostas will inspire hobbyists and gardeners alike and provide inspiration for new planting schemes.
Gathering edible wild food is a wonderful way to forge a connection to the earth. Mushrooms are the ultimate local food source; they grow literally everywhere, from mountains and woodlands to urban and suburban parks to your own backyard. The Complete Mushroom Hunter will enrich your understanding of the natural world and build an appreciation for an ancient, critically relevant, and useful body of knowledge. Amateur mycologists and mushroom enthusiasts will find this is a guidebook for their passion.
Mushroom guru Gary Lincoff escorts you from the mushroom’s earliest culinary awakening, through getting equipped for mushroom forays, to preparing and serving the fruits of the foray, wherever you live.
Inside you’ll find:
-A brief, but colorful history of mushroom hunting worldwide
-How to get equipped for a mushroom foray
-A completely illustrated guide to the common wild edible mushrooms and their poisonous look-alikes: where to find them, how to identify them, and more
-How to prepare and serve the fruits of your foray, plus more than 30 delicious recipes
-Plus, dozens of colorful, priceless anecdotes from living the mushroom lifestyle/div
In Plant Dreaming Deep, Sarton shares an intensely personal account of transforming a house into a home. She begins with an introduction to the enchanting village of Nelson, where she first meets her house. Sarton finds she must “dream the house alive” inside herself before taking the major step of signing the deed. She paints the walls white in order to catch the light and searches for the precise shade of yellow for the kitchen floor. She discovers peace and beauty in solitude, whether she is toiling in the garden or writing at her desk.
This is a loving, beautifully crafted memoir illuminated by themes of friendship, love, nature, and the struggles of the creative life.
This ebook features an extended biography of May Sarton.
Unsurpassed in both illustrative and descriptive detail, Mushrooms contains over 1,250 photographs, often showing the specimens in various stages of growth, and including all the latest botanical and common names as well as current ecological information on endangered species.
Having sold more than 750,000 copies in Europe of his previous title on mushrooms, Roger Phillips' new book once again sets the benchmark. Quite simply, nobody with an interest in the subject can afford to be without this book.
'Roger Phillips has written the best mushroom book I know: the sublime taxonomic accuracy of his descriptions and photographs, combined with an evangelical and infectious passion for the subject, will make an instant mycophile of anyone who picks it up.' Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
'A masterpiece of identification.' David Bellamy
It is compact enough to fit in the pocket, yet packed with essential information for the nature enthusiast.
Renowned natural history artists including Cy Baker, David Daly, Colin Emberson and Lyn Wells painted the illustrations.
The first comprehensive survey of the aquatic and wetland plants of the Southeast, the Godfrey and Wooten volumes will prove invaluable to botanists, ecologists, college students, government agencies involved in land-use management, and nonspecialists interested in the plant life and ecology of the region.
Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life.
"I have great faith in a seed," Thoreau wrote. "Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Written with a scientist’s knowledge and a gardener’s delight, An Orchard Invisible offers those wonders in a package that will be irresistible to science buffs and green thumbs alike.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, nearly half of all Americans spend time observing, identifying, or photographing wildlife and plants, and they invest billions of dollars annually on cameras, binoculars, guided tours, videos, handbooks, and field guides. Still, many people lack the basic skills and insights needed to make effective use of these resources. This remarkable handbook takes a step back from the sea of information to take a fresh look at the fundamentals of observing nature. Advocating a holistic approach, it shows how to move beyond memorization of facts and become better attuned to your surroundings; rather than simply comparing a bird to a picture in a field guide, you'll learn to observe its habitat, its posture, its movement, and a host of other factors. Not only will you be able to identify wildlife more accurately--you'll also gain a deeper understanding of the natural processes going on around you, and you'll enjoy a much richer and more meaningful outdoor experience.