Check all the book recommendations here!
The following books released this year cover botany. They are suitable for lay readers and school students. Not in any order. Blurbs are taken from the official book description. Note that featuring a book here does not necessarily mean I agree with its contents. I will gladly do full book reviews if requested.
|The Kingdom of Fungi|
|Petersen; $20.00 Hardcover|
|The fungi realm has been called the “hidden kingdom,” a mysterious world populated by microscopic spores, gigantic mushrooms and toadstools, and a host of other multicellular organisms ranging widely in color, size, and shape. The Kingdom of Fungi provides an intimate look at the world’s astonishing variety of fungi species, from cup fungi and lichens to truffles and tooth fungi, clubs and corals, and jelly fungi and puffballs. This beautifully illustrated book features more than 800 stunning color photographs as well as a concise text that describes the biology and ecology of fungi, fungal morphology, where fungi grow, and human interactions with and uses of fungi.
My comment: Fungi are nowhere near plants, but I bow to idiotic disciplinary tradition here.
|Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot|
|Crane; $29.41 Hardcover|
|Inspired by the historic ginkgo that has thrived in London’s Kew Gardens since the 1760s, renowned botanist Peter Crane explores the history of the ginkgo from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence. Crane also highlights the cultural and social significance of the ginkgo: its medicinal and nutritional uses, its power as a source of artistic and religious inspiration, and its importance as one of the world’s most popular street trees. Readers of this book will be drawn to the nearest ginkgo, where they can experience firsthand the timeless beauty of the oldest tree on Earth.|
|Early Events in Monocot Evolution|
|Wilkin, Mayo (eds.); $89.10 Hardcover|
|Tracing the evolution of one of the most ancient major branches of flowering plants, this is a wide-ranging survey of state-of-the-art research on the early clades of the monocot phylogenetic tree. It explores a series of broad but linked themes, providing for the first time a detailed and coherent view of the taxa of the early monocot lineages, how they diversified and their importance in monocots as a whole. Featuring contributions from leaders in the field, the chapters trace the evolution of the monocots from largely aquatic ancestors. Topics covered include the rapidly advancing field of monocot fossils, aquatic adaptations in pollen and anther structure and pollination strategies and floral developmental morphology. The book also presents a new plastid sequence analysis of early monocots and a review of monocot phylogeny as a whole, placing in an evolutionary context a plant group of major ecological, economic and horticultural importance.
My comment: This one is definitely university-level stuff, but I’ve found that this is a topic that interests many people, so I’m putting it here and hoping that the interested parties will be able to get through it.
|Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany|
|Clarke, Merlin; $85.50 Hardcover|
|Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the natural origins and early evolution of this famous plant, highlighting its historic role in the development of human societies. Cannabis has long been prized for the strong and durable fiber in its stalks, its edible and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced by its female flowers. The culturally valuable and often irreplaceable goods derived from Cannabis deeply influenced the commercial, medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages, and human desire for these commodities directed the evolution of the plant toward its contemporary varieties. As interest in Cannabis grows and public debate over its many uses rises, this book will help us understand why humanity continues to rely on this plant and adapts it to suit our needs.
My comment: Over two years later, and my Cannabis post still brings in hate mail and death threats. If only its wonderful mellowing effects can switch off instinctive psychologically-induced foaming at the mouth. I hope I can refer these people to this book from now on.
|Botany: A Junior Book for Schools|
|Yapp; $22.24 Paperback|
|First published in 1927 as the third edition of a 1923 original, this popular book by Professor R. H. Yapp is a well-illustrated and easy-to-read introduction to botany. The text includes detailed botanical drawings and suggestions for simple practical experiments to be performed by the reader; as Yapp explains in his guide, ‘this book is intended to help you find things out for yourself, not merely to tell you what other people have found out’. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in botany or in the history of botanical education.
My comment: I experimented with using this book in teaching botany to high school students… and it worked surprisingly well, if you know where to update the text.