Plants are truly remarkable: even with all our modern technological prowess they still feed, clothe and shelter us, help transport us and cure us. Helen and William Bynum are expert guides to the rich histories, significance and uses of over 80 key species from around the world, exploring our relationship with them, both utilitarian and aesthetic, and their myriad benefits and cultural resonances.
In portraits that combine vivid cultural and historical narrative with a firm scientific basis – starting with the crops that were fundamental to the development of cultures and civilizations, and those that enliven our diet, such as saffron and chilli peppers – the authors reveal plants that have helped to create our material world, as well as those that are used medicinally or are revered for symbolic reasons, including the tulip, the rose and the lotus. For anyone interested in the natural world and the extraordinary diversity of flora around us, this elegantly illustrated book, published in association with the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, will be an inspiration and a delight.
'This beautifully illustrated, insightful and well-pitched book will make the ideal gift for plant-obsessed readers'
The English Garden
'An accessible introduction to the field of economic botany … stands as a rewarding artefact in its own right, emanating the authors’ quintessentially human passion for plants and their uses'
'With 205 exquisite illustrations, this book is beautiful … From rice to rhubarb and aloe to indigo, these plants make life work. And this book is one you should buy'
'The book is blessed with the fine design and production values we expect from this publisher'