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‘To discover so many intriguing things about trees from around the world is truly wonderful. This beautifully illustrated book reveals just how much these useful, fascinating, dangerous yet beautiful living beings really contribute to our lives’ Dame Judi Dench

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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.

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'Exquisite … intricate and expressive illustrations bear witness to the magic of closely observing the natural world'
The Lady

'A rare treat … the wonderful drawings [are] as remarkable themselves as the trees they depict'
Gardens Illustrated

Robert Elms, BBC Radio London

'This attractive book gently reminds us not only how useful and beautiful trees are but how fragile too'
World of Interiors

'Enchantingly illustrated'
Country Town & House

'An absolute joy to peruse … this handsome tome will prove to be a treasured volume which will be dipped into for years to come'
Cotswold Life

'Stunning … reading it reminds us that we live in a truly remarkable world'
Book Murmuration

'A fine, gorgeously illustrated book'
The Times, Gardening Books of the Year

Country Life

'Each account is concise and an enjoyable read … This book is deserving a place on my shelf'
Tim Upson, RHS Director of Horticulture, The Garden

'If you’ve any interest in natural history – or learning endless did-you-know? facts about these vital plants – it’ll be very much your thing'

'A superb selection of illustrations … elaborates on the authoritative and enjoyable text'
Hortus Journal

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.6 x 18.6 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 3 October 2019

ISBN: 9780500021927

About the Author

Christina Harrison is the editor of Kew Magazine. She trained as an ecologist and botanical horticulturalist and has an MA in Garden History, for which she specialized in the trees at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Tony Kirkham is Head of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A world renowned tree expert, he is the author of several books on plant history including, as co-author, Wilson’s China: A Century On.