Author(s): Sandra Knapp
Through exquisite botanical paintings and insightful essays, Flora examines the fascinating history of plants and flowers. Over 20 plant families are profiled, including cacti, daffodils, iris, magnolia, roses, tulips and waterlilies. Flora at the same time tells the remarkable stories of the adventurous botanists who braved disease, slave traders, war, jungles and other dangers to collect plants now commonly grown in our own gardens. It describes how plants have adopted remarkable behaviours for survival in a variety of harsh habitats, and how, throughout history, they have affected our lives, even shaping societies. The seventeenth century spice trade, for example, was so profitable that stevedores who unloaded nutmeg from the boats had to wear coveralls without pockets as a single nutmeg was worth a fortune. The book contains hundreds of stunning colour illustrations selected from the vast collection of original botanical paintings archived at the Natural History Museum.
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Sandra Knapp is an internationally respected botanist and an expert in the taxonomy and phylogeny of the nightshade family. She is the author of several books on botany and its history, including Alfred Russel Wallace in the Amazon and The Gilded Canopy, and is actively involved in improving the public understanding of science.