Trees are the treasures of the natural world and have long been special to us, not only for their beauty and character, but also because down the ages they have been central to human existence in numerous ways.
Every tree has its own story and here two experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have selected over 60 for their particular resonance and connection to us, representing most of the world’s major habitats. In portraits that combine vivid cultural and historical narrative with a firm scientific grounding, the authors reveal the details of trees from around the world, some familiar and others less well known outside their local regions. We use timbers for building and creating, have discovered which tree fruits and seeds taste delicious, and which can kill or cure us, as well as which species add colour and spirituality to our lives – from the timber of mahogany to the delights of chocolate and pomegranate, from the medicinal tea tree to the deadly manchineel, and from fragrant frankincense to the highly prized dragon’s blood tree.
Many trees have also become revered over time, and they have inspired artists and botanists alike for centuries. A varied and beautiful range of images from the unrivalled collections at Kew illustrate the stories told here, to create this enlightening and enchanting book.