Seeds: A Natural History

University of Chicago Press
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From the magnificence of a towering redwood to the simple elegance of a tiny dandelion, seed-bearing plants abound on planet Earth. The sheer diversity of plants thriving today is largely thanks to the evolution of the seed, as this made plants resilient to environmental changes by enabling them to await optimum conditions for growth before springing to life. In a time of declining biodiversity, studying seeds is now helping scientists preserve this plant diversity for future generations.

With Seeds, Carolyn Fry offers a celebration of these vital but unassuming packages of life. She begins with a sweeping tour through human history, designed to help us understand why we should appreciate and respect these floral parcels. Wheat, corn, and rice, she reminds us, supply the foundations of meals eaten by people around the world. Countless medicines, oils, clothing materials, and building supplies are available only because of the versatility and variety of seed-bearing plants. Fry then provides a comprehensive history of the evolution of seeds, explaining the myriad ways that they have adapted, survived, and thrived across the globe. Delving deeper into the science of seeds, she reveals the fascinating processes of dormancy, reproduction, germination, and dispersal, and showcases the estimable work conservationists are doing today to gather and bank seeds in order to prevent species from going extinct.

Enriched by a stunning array of full-color images, Seeds offers a comprehensive exploration of some of the most enduring and essential players in the natural world.
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About the author

Carolyn Fry is a writer and journalist specializing in science, conservation, natural history, and adventure travel. She has written six books on these subjects, including The Plant Hunters, also published by The University of Chicago Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 5, 2016
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780226224497
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Language
English
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Genres
Gardening / General
Nature / General
Nature / Plants / General
Science / Life Sciences / Botany
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
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.
The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

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.
Wild plants are not only beautiful, but they can also be an affordable and sustainable way to add flavor and nutrition to your diet. Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides you with the essential information and guidance to begin foraging for edible wild plants and including them in your diet. Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides profiles of common edible wild plants and includes information on dangerous look-alikes, the best time to harvest, where to find each type of wild plant, and how to cultivate your own garden. From natural remedies to delectable dishes and exotic cocktails, Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides more than 95 ways for you to use these newfound ingredients.

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.
 BBC 英國廣播公司 × 英國皇家植物園 聯手呈現 250 年植物學大觀

百幅珍貴圖片與原始手稿首度披露

         

1759 年成立,日不落國的皇家植物園

匯聚世間的奇花異種 不斷演革的研究機構

演示人與植物的情深與共生 呈現近代植物學的恢弘全像


1759 年皇家植物園成立,宣示大英帝國領導全世界科學發展的決心。隨著日不落國在世界建立殖民地,探險家也帶回許多標本資料,遂使英國在植物學領域獨步全球,皇家植物園更匯集了世間奇花異種,堪稱世界首屈一指的科學知識庫。250 多年來,這座植物學堡壘收藏了海內外的珍貴知識,也留下不少引人深思的故事……


在林奈為植物建立命名系統前,我們得用三大行的拉丁文,來形容一朵小雛菊

→唯有建立一套分類系統,辨識不同物種、植物學研究才成為可能


小小的甲蟲可以消滅一整個國家的榆樹,讓英國引以為傲的鄉村景致一夕消失

→隨便移植外來種,可能破壞當地植相,毀滅一個時代的歷史記憶


列寧格勒圍城戰中,種子銀行的科學家寧可餓死,也不願吃下他們保護的穀糧

→基因多樣性的重要,使科學家願意犧牲自己,維護全人類的利益


透過 25 個精采篇章,及一百多幅首度披露的圖片與手稿,現任園長及科學記者將帶領讀者從植物園出發,逐篇了解植物是如何深深地改變我們的歷史,並影響未來。


【專文推薦】


嚴新富博士/國立自然科學博物館植物園科長


【國外推薦】


「鮮活、迷人、宛如身歷其境。」

——《英國園藝》雜誌


「生動活潑、引人深思、博學精深。」

——《園林設計》雜誌


「對生物及其分類有興趣的讀者,必讀!」

——《泰晤士周日報》


「在植物學的奇妙世界,進行一場下鄉 Long-stay 之旅。」

——《每日電訊報》


「那些專業或業餘的植物愛好者啊,這本書將讓你們興奮不已。」

——《歷史園林評論》期刊


「本書配上了大量且首度披露的美麗照片及插圖,喜歡戲劇、冒險、歷史、科學、創新的讀者,必讀!」

——BBC 電視節目《鄉村檔案》


「這本書帶領讀者環遊世界、穿梭古今,探索無數植物背後不可思議的故事。」

——《英國園藝》雜誌


「這本以皇家植物園為中心、佐以精美插圖的適時之作,仔細回顧了相關歷史背景,並將機構的科學工作做了一次堅實的定位。」

——《BBC 歷史雜誌》


「探討植物學如何逐步興盛,一場飽含美學、歷史、科學的旅程。這是一本以科學雕飾、輔以精緻插圖的植物學大觀;打開它,就像受邀進入大觀園內遊歷一般。」

——《新科學家》週刊



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