The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey.
A rich, sweeping, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, life and death.
Writing in a celebrated style that the Economist calls “delightful and casually learned,” Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists such as da Vinci, Keats, Darwin, and van Gogh and across nearly 40,000 years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton’s apple and gravity, Priestley’s sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth’s daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America.
Complemented by dozens of full-color illustrations, The Cabaret of Plants is the magnum opus of a great naturalist and an extraordinary exploration of the deeply interwined history of humans and the natural world.
This book consists of an extended essay on the natural history of the vascular plants of Iowa, a discussion of their origins, a description of the state's natural regions, and a painstakingly annotated checklist of Iowa vascular plants. The data, which apply to over 150 years, took more than 15 years to collect.
All known vascular plants that grow and persist in Iowa without cultivation are included in the checklist. These are native plants, primarily, but a large number of introduced species have become established throughout the state. Also included are Iowa's major crop plants and some of its common garden plants. The lengthy checklist provides an accurate and up-to-date listing of species names and common names, synonyms, distribution, habitat, abundance, and origin; county names are given for very rare species, and the most complete information has been provided for all rare plants and troublesome species.
The wealth of information is this well-organized, practical volume—which describes more than two thousand species from Adiantum pedatum, the northern maidenhair fern of moist woods and rocky slopes, to Zannichellia palustris, the horned pondweed of shallow marshes and coldwater streams—makes it possible to identify Iowa plants correctly. All midwesterners will want to own a copy of The Vascular Plants of Iowa.
In this truly revolutionary and beloved work, drawn from remarkable research, Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird cast light on the rich psychic universe of plants. Now available in a new edition, The Secret Life of Plants explores plants' response to human care and nurturing, their ability to communicate with man, plants' surprising reaction to music, their lie-detection abilities, their creative powers, and much more. Tompkins and Bird's classic book affirms the depth of humanity's relationship with nature and adds special urgency to the cause of protecting the environment that nourishes us.