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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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    The incredible journey of etrog, a most religious fruit

    Etrog: How a Chinese fruit became a Jewish symbol by David Moster 2018. Palgrave Pivot. It is fair to say that Etrog: How a Chinese fruit became a Jewish symbol [hereafter referred to as Etrog] by Dr Rabbi David Moster is not a book I would have selected for scrutiny – unprompted. That’s not because […] More

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    80 wonderful trees and their stories

    Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori 2018. Laurence King Publishing Ltd. Stephen Barstow did it with plants, Dan Cruikshank did it with man-made ‘treasures’, and now Jonathan Drori’s done it with trees. Done what? Taken us on a world tour in his wonderful book entitled Around the World in 80 Trees [hereafter […] More

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    Plants that … KILL!

    Plants that kill: A natural history of the world’s most poisonous plants by Elizabeth Dauncey and Sonny Larsson, 2018. Kew Publishing. When we think of plants – if we ever do(!) – it’s usually to consider the good that they do, e.g. in providing food, or medicines or clothing or building materials. Undeniably, plants do […] More

  • Achuar with a blowpipe in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
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    How much do you know about … blowguns?

    Not much I suspect. And it’s probably not that important that any of us do in the so-called developed world where we don’t need to hunt for meat using blowgun and poison-tipped darts. And it’s probably not as important nowadays for those living in areas where in days gone by that was a traditional method […] More


    Farming in the DNA

    Archaeology shows that farming spread across Europe from the Middle East. For Europeans, farming started in the Fertile Crescent in the Levant, Turkey and Iraq around 8-9,000 BC. It spread into SE Europe around 6,500 BC and across the continent over the next couple of thousand years. It’s possible to track farming moving, because settlements […] More

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