Posted 20 hours ago

Around the World in 80 Plants

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Did you know that vanilla has been done dirty by becoming synonymous with "boring" when it's really one of the most truly exquisite flavors around? For the Aztec civilization, medical treatment combined the use of plants with magic and religion; marigolds were part of the decoration and offerings at religious festivals, and deities were decorated with marigold garlands. The 1 or 2 page stories about each plant are very accessible, interesting and intriguing, telling the stories about the history of the plant, where it is found and why it has evolved to be a certain way.

It was just informational enough where I feel I was gaining general knowledge without feeling like I was reading a textbook. Applied externally, it has shown promise for treating burns, but eating just a handful of black liquorice a day for a fortnight can interfere with some of the body’s hormone systems and cause high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia and muscle weakness.

Often beautiful, sometimes deadly, but constantly ingenious, plants are the sources of life and delight, myth and mayhem. I wonder what criteria Drori considered when picking his 80 plants to cover because he certainly covered the world and every continent - including the ocean! Ultimately, it was informative and fun at times, but I felt it lacked the focus of Around the World in 80 Trees, which I loved. A trustee of the Eden Project, his knowledge is encyclopaedic, but it is the combination of science and storytelling that makes his book stand out.

Her work is mainly handcrafted from drawing to screenprinting which allows her to create large scale compositions, architectural portraits of her favourite places and exploring their past and present lives.Interestingly, every plant has its own character: some like to cooperate with animals or other plants to benefit (birds spreading seeds, for example), while others lie and cheat. I also really appreciated how Drori, blended biology, culture and wit in telling the often complex stories of the plants.

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