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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Fascinating Plants

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September 08, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Fascinating Plants

Books Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we're recommending books about fascinating plants.

The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants (by Wolfgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler, and Madeline Harley, $30, Firefly Books, Sept. 2009) Representing a union of science and art, this book explores plant reproduction through incredible close-up images of pollen, seeds, and fruit. This visual treat, accompanied by engaging botanical descriptions, invites readers to discover the thrill of looking at the everyday from an uncommon perspective.

The Kew Plant Glossary: An Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Identification Terms (by Henk Beentje, $30, Royal Botanic Gardens, July 2010) With more than 4,100 botanical definitions and 730 line drawings, this plant glossary helps make sense of the language of field guides and scientific papers. It's for the amateur and the professional alike.

Pick of the Bunch: The Story of Twelve Treasured Flowers (by Margaret Willes, $35, University of Oxford, Nov. 2009) The rose, the lily, the iris, the daffodil, the fritillary – we've treasured these flowers for centuries. Willes tells the story of our 12 favorite flowers – how we named them, how we cultivated them, how we traded them, and how artists recreated them.

A Rare Botanical Legacy: The Contributions of Ruby and Arthur Van Deventer (edited by Rick Bennett and Susan Calla, $35, Heyday Books, Dec. 2009) A tribute to the passion of two amateur botanists from California, this tome presents a sampling from Ruby Van Deventer's collection of more than 3,500 specimens. Her husband's elegant watercolor paintings provide illustration.

Toxic Flora: Poems (by Kimiko Hahn, $25, W.W. Norton & Company, May 2010) In this volume of poetry, Hahn explores the imagery and lyricism of hard science. Inspired by the weekly New York Times "Science" section, Hahn reflects on the strange behaviors of plants and animals and compares them to us humans. 

--Natalya Stanko

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