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The cabaret of plants : forty thousand years of plant life and the human imagination

Author: Richard Mabey
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : W.W. Norton & Company, ©2015 2016.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First American editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey"--
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Genre/Form: Plants
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Richard Mabey
ISBN: 9780393239973 0393239977
OCLC Number: 909974372
Notes: "First published in Great Britain in 2015 under the title 'The cabaret of plants: botany and the imagination'"--Title page verso.
Description: 374 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: The vegetable plot --
How to see a plant. Symbols from the ice : plants as food and forms ; Bird's-eyes : primulas --
Wooden manikins : the cults of trees. The cult of celebrity : the Fortingall yew ; The Rorschach tree : baobab ; The big trees : sequoias ; Methuselahs : bristlecones and date palms ; Provenance and extinction : wood's cycad ; From workhorse to green man : the oak --
Myths of cultivation. The Celtic bush : hazel ; The vegetable lamb : cotton ; Staff of life : maize ; The panacea : ginseng ; The vegetable mudfish : samphire --
The shock of the real : scientists and Romantics. Life versus entropy : Newton's apple ; Imitations of photosynthesis : mint and cucumber ; The challenge of carnivorous plans : the tipitiwitchet ; Wordsworth's daffodils ; On being pollinated : Keats's forget-me-not --
New lands, new visions. Jewels of the desert : Francis Masson's starfish and birds of paradise ; Growing together : the East Indian Company's fusion art ; Chiaroscuro : the Impressionists' olive trees ; Local distinctiveness : cornfield tulips and horizontal flax --
The Victorian plant theatre. 'Vegetable jewellery' : the fern craze ; 'The Queen of Lilies' : Victoria amazonica ; A Sarawakan stinkbomb : the Titan Arum ; Harlequins and mimics : the orchid troupe --
The real language of plants. The butterfly effect : the moonflower ; The canopy cooperative : air plants and bromeliads : Plant intelligence : mimosa --
The Tree of After Life.
Responsibility: Richard Mabey.

Abstract:

"The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey"--

"A sweeping work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, life and death. Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists and across nearly forty thousand years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton's apple and gravity, Priestley's sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth's daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America. Complemented by dozens of full-color illustrations, this is the magnum opus of a great naturalist and an extraordinary exploration of the deeply intertwined history of humans and the natural world"--Adapted from book jacket.

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