Plants: From Roots to Riches
As a follow-up to Kathy Willis' 25-part radio series on Plants: From Roots to Riches, Kathy and Carolyn Fry have published a profusely illustrated book to accompany the series.
The 25 chapters of the book follow the 25 parts of the radio programme with evocative titles such as 'Lumping and splitting', 'Blight on the landscape', 'Taming the exotic', 'Battling bark and beetle', and 'A blooming tree of life'. The book provides a wonderful history and enthralling account of the evolution of botanical science since Carl Linnaeus provided in 1735 a universal language to classify and name plants and since the foundation of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1759.
As Kathy comments "Botany, as it was known, is still a relative newcomer at the top table of science, and it had to work hard to earn its place. Much of that work was done at Kew. ... We need plants. Plants provide our air, food, clothing, shelter, fuel, medicine, means of transport and ways of storing knowledge. They contribute basic raw materials for everything we do, and have carried on supplying limiltess fecundity whatever we have chosen to throw at them - so far. We need to know where this amazing, uncomplaining generosity comes from, how it works, and how we can preserve it and stop damaging it by negligence, accident or deliberate fault". Plants have amazing power and we depend on them. Botanical science is even more important now than it was in Carl Linnaeus' day.
Available from: http://shop.kew.org/plants-from-roots-to-riches