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Plant Discoveries: a Botanist's Voyage through Plant Exploration.

SANDRA KNAPP

Profiles detailing the heritage of more than 20 plant families, including cacti, daffodils, poppies, tulips, and water lilies, are enhanced by hundreds of vintage illustrations selected from those archived at the Natural History Museum in London. These images--many being 200 to 250 years old--exhibit fine detail and color. The text that describes them is a wonderful blend of science and adventure. A recurring theme is that botanical explorers traveled widely in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their mission: to seek plant marvels that could grace the gardens of royalty and other wealthy patrons. Knapp regales readers with the tale of David Douglas, who on an exploration of the northwest United States braved encounters with grizzly bears and tumbled into rivers and gullies, all to retrieve sugar pine cones that ended up not faring well in English soil. Knapp also tells how the fantastic feathers and flames of reds and purples that appear on tulips aren't a result of human engineering but rather are indications of a viral disease transmitted by aphids. These stories and hundreds of others are in this beautiful and engaging book about some of our favorite plants and flowers. Originally published in the United Kingdom. Firefly, 2003, 336 p., color illus., hardcover, $60.00.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 28, 2004
Words:209
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