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    Three kinds of algae? Blooming marvellous news!

    Bloom: From food to fuel, the epic story of how algae can save our world by Ruth Kassinger 2019. Elliott & Thompson. As a Botanist, especially one who has taught an undergraduate module on marine biology for over 12 years, I like to think I know a thing or two about algae. However, having just […] More

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    Read all about it: Plants that get their own back on animals

    Carnivorous Plants by Dan Torre 2019. Reaktion Books Ltd. In the same way that it’s become something of a tradition that books about seeds should contain – and prominently – that Henry David Thoreau ‘seed quote’ * (e.g. Seeds, Sex and Civilization, 2010, by Peter Thompson; Thor Hanson’s The Triumph of Seeds, 2015), it’s seemingly […] More

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    Between scientists and journalists, the PIO

    Handbook for Science Public Information Officers by W. Matthew Shipman, 2015. The University of Chicago Press. This book had been on my ‘to-read’ list for years, though it kept getting bumped down by other books. Partly this was because the ebook was the same price as the paperback, which I find off-putting in any book. […] More

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    Primroses and primulas aplenty

    Primrose by Elizabeth Lawson, 2019. Reaktion Books Ltd. To the uninitiated, it may seem rather improbable that anybody can write 288 pages about the primrose. After all, whilst it may be understood that primrose is a corruption of the Latin phrase prima rosa, the first flower of spring, how much more could possibly be said […] More

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    Visually stunning: Flora for juvenile – and adult – fauna

    Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants by DK [Dorling Kindersley] with contribution by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2018. Dorling Kindersley. Dorling Kindersley’s Flora: Inside the secret world of plants [hereafter referred to as DK’s Flora] is a stunning book. However, with no Introduction, one can be forgiven for not being entirely sure what DK’s […] More

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    From Emerald Planet to Eden with Prof. Beerling

    Making Eden by David Beerling, 2019. Oxford University Press. Almost 12 years ago I reviewed David Beerling’s previous book The Emerald Planet. I was very impressed with that slim, but information-packed, volume; I’m even more impressed with his latest tome, Making Eden. Yes, Making Eden has a rather straightforward message: How plants transformed the bare […] More

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    Wood-wide web wins world-renowned writing award

    The Overstory by Richard Powers, 2018. William Heinemann. As a would-be botanical educator who’s reviewed a lot of botany texts over the years, I don’t really have time to review – or just read – ‘novels’. But, having been impressed with the intelligent-plant-based science fictionesque novel Semiosis last year, and hearing that Richard Powers’ new […] More

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    Teaching plant anatomy, via hangman?

    Plant Anatomy: A Concept-Based Approach to the Structure of Seed Plants by Richard Crang, Sheila Lyons-Sobaski and Robert Wise, 2018. Springer. I suspect that anybody who’s ever taught – or studied – plant anatomy has their favourite textbook for that topic. I’m also prepared to believe that that choice is likely to be age-dependant: I […] More

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    A tropical botany delight

    Atlas of Poetic Botany by Francis Hallé with Éliane Patriarca, translated by Erik Butler, 2018. The MIT Press. Let’s start this book appreciation with a multi-choice question. Is Francis Hallé’s new book Atlas of Poetic Botany [hereafter styled as Poetic Botany]: A:    Philosophical? B:    Charming? C:    Entertaining? D:    Informative? E:    Educational? F:    Quirky? G:    All […] More

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    Bigging-up Bill’s botany

    Mr Guilfoyle’s Shakespearian Botany, Edited by Diana E Hill and Edmée Cudmore, 2018. The Miegunyah Press. It is acknowledged that English wordsmith William Shakespeare (Bill…) was well-versed in matters botanical. Quite how numerous and widespread are references to plants in the works attributed to the British ‘Bard’ is demonstrated by William Guilfoyle who devoted some […] More

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    Roses (hip-hip hooray!)

    Rose by Catherine Horwood 2018. Reaktion Books Ltd. Apparently, the rose is the world’s favourite flower. It’s not mine. I therefore seem to find myself at odds with the rest of humanity in countries such as England, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Slovakia, the Maldives, and even the USA (since the rose […] More

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    Bring on the birch!

    Birch by Anna Lewington 2018. Reaktion Books Ltd. “Miserable, naked, hungry”. These three little words are used by the Phytophactor (the ‘nom de blog’ of Illinois State University Professor of Botany Joseph Armstrong) to begin his economic botany classes. Why? That triplet summarises three of the most essential, basic and fundamental services that plants provide […] More

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