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Around the World in 80 Plants - Jonathan Drori

Around the World in 80 Plants

By: Jonathan Drori, Lucille Clerc (Illustrator)

Hardcover | 15 April 2021 | Edition Number 1

At a Glance


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An inspirational and beautifully illustrated book that tells the stories of 80 plants from around the globe.

In his follow-up to the bestselling Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori takes another trip across the globe, bringing to life the science of plants by revealing how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish ‘moss’ of Louisiana, each of these stories is full of surprises. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilizations to flourish.

With a colourful cast of characters all brought to life by illustrator Lucille Clerc, this is a botanical journey of beauty and brilliance.

About the Author

Jonathan Drori CBE is a Trustee of The Eden Project and Cambridge Science Centre, an Ambassador for the WWF, and was for nine years a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and The Woodland Trust. He is on the board of Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Geographical Society. In a previous life at the BBC, he was Executive Producer of more than fifty prime-time science documentaries and popular series.
Industry Reviews

This charming and beautifully illustrated book takes readers on a voyage of discovery, exploring the many ingenious and surprising uses for plants in modern science and throughout history

* Kew magazine *
Who knew that the milky sap from dandelions is similar to that of rubber trees, so much so that, in the 1930s, 260 square miles of Eastern Europe were dedicated to growing Russian dandelions successfully to produce rubber until the end of the Second World War? Or did you know that Cook pine trees tilt towards the equator? These are only two fascinating facts from a book packed with similar gems -- Tiffany Daneff * Country Life *
A fun and fascinating read, combining science, culture, botany and travel writing * Flower Arranger *
With beautiful illustrations from Lucille Clerc, this captivating book traverses the globe via plants: nettles in England, mangoes in India and tulips in the Netherlands -- Ciara Dossett * Daily Mail *
A trustee of the Eden Project, his knowledge is encyclopaedic, but it is the combination of science and storytelling that makes his book stand out... With Drori's evocative prose and Lucille Clerc's exquisite illustrations, this is a book to treasure -- Juanita Coulson * The Lady *
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PLANTS by Jonathan Drori is a brilliant and - thanks to Lucille Clerc - a beautiful book. It's an excellent companion to the same author's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 TREES. Everybody who has the slightest interest in plants - and people - and wonders why we need to conserve botanical biodiversity should read this book -- Nigel Chaffey * *
The book is lively, entertaining and educational and the author's personal comments and witty asides, often made me laugh out loud. It is a credit to his skill and dedication that every fact-filled sentence is rich in information about each chosen plant, be it ethnobotanical, economic, folklore, myth, history, religion, culinary or etymology - not a word is wasted... Lucille Clerc's astonishingly beautiful, vibrantly coloured illustrations are an absolute delight, summing up the key points about each plant perfectly - you will find humour in these too... It would make a fabulous gift, yet contains enough facts to be of benefit to students of plant sciences, it is also a must have for anyone who guides at a public garden or has an interest in the relationship between plants and people in the past, present and future -- Matthew Biggs * Gardens Illustrated *
A beautiful celebration of the plants and flowers that surround us and a quiet call to arms for change * The Herald, Portfolio *

With its fascinating blend of the cultural, historic and scientific, Jonathan Drori's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 TREES led readers on a global tour telling the stories of people and plants. Now, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PLANTS (Laurence King GBP20) reprises the winning formula with a botanical travelogue ranging from the edible - tomato, vanilla, cacao, artichoke - to the religious - myrrh, lotus - and species such as the opium poppy or sugar cane which have dominated whole economies

-- Bridget Galton * Ham & High *
[Jonathan Drori] comes to this book with a lifetime of experience and a passion for talking about - and encouraging the preservation of - plants, trees, insects and birds. He brings with him a cheerfully wry sense of humour and a wonderful way of explaining to the previously ignorant the golden nuggets of fact, the "did you knows?" that make the book such fun to read -- Jenni Fraser * Jewish Chronicle *

Packed with insights, this is a book to treasure

* Saga magazine *
Beautifully illustrated by Lucille Clerc, the book is crammed with great stories. It will appeal not just to gardeners, but to anyone interested in the natural world and the ingenious means by which our ancestors adapted the plants around them for food, clothing, shelter, recreation and artistry * The Herald *
A terrifically opinionated guide to a selection of world plants and their place in culture. Our author travels the globe via plants, like a plantsman Phineas Fogg, from Nettle and Mistletoe here to Saffron crocus and mandrake in Southern Europe to damask rose in South Asia to vanilla in Africa. Each is illustrated with panache by Lucille Clere. It's one to browse, and a source of fun facts. Did you know that nutmeg in excess has hallucinogenic effects? Apparently Malcolm X used nutmeg in jail for a high; it was banned in prisons in the US to avoid misuse. Or that myrrh was used in Biblical times for an antiseptic mouthwash as well as for incense and that the body of Admiral Nelson was preserved in myrrh-infused brandy to bring back to England (which the crew is said to have drunk in his honour)? There's lots like this -- Melanie McDonagh * Evening Standard *
Monty Don describes Around the World in 80 Plants as 'A delightful book that informs and charms in equal measure' - a brilliant way to sum up a book written by someone with deep scientific knowledge, rather than where information is simply lifted from websites. As you turn the pages, facts illuminate, titillate and inform. I kept saying to myself 'I didn't know that' and was thrilled by my new knowledge. Jonathan Drori writes with passion, gentle humour and command of the subject... anyone interested in the plant world would find it of great interest. The illustrations by Lucille Clerc completment the worlds beautifully * Flora magazine *

If you read extensively on many subjects, then here's another fascinating book to add to your collection - you'll love this one. Not only is it beautifully written and superbly illustrated, but it's also informative and fun. And there's a lot to delve into, depending on your moods. Maybe you'll just want to read up on one of the 80 plants or at other times get stuck into a geographic section. Or perhaps you'll opt for the culinary tips, sometimes the medicinal uses or very often the history. In this, Jonathan Drori has written another remarkable book and distilled fascinating content into each two-page expose... you'll both learn from and enjoy this colourful introduction to the world of wild plants.

* Plant Life magazine *
The stories from "the riotous and often bizarre plant world" have the power to "intertwine science with history and culture" and that's exactly what Jonathan Drori does in this world-tour cornucopia of growing things. His scientific knowledge of plants is extensive but he wears it lightly as he writes passionately about intoxicants such as absinthe and cannabis, flavourings such as the misunderstood vanilla, and the imaginative and constant search for aphrodisiacs. If you think you know about the humble potato (Drori's paragraph on our Great Famine is admirably balanced) or tomato or nettle or dandelion, you'll learn still more here, while also learning about exotica such as mandrake and carnivorous plants. The book is beautifully illustrated and a must for anyone interested in the world around them -- Brian Maye * Irish Times *
It's fair to say that Jonathan Drori, who has spent his life involved with plants and is now a member of the Council of Ambassadors of WWF and The Woodland Trust, has a real place in his hear for the simple and overlooked... Drori describes plants almost lovingly, allowing space for their beauty and ingenuity. Take this particularly appealing description of the nutmeg plant: 'Girdling the shiny nut is a succulent, lacy layer, an utterly sensual blood-red aril, or seed covering, which is itself surrounded by a fleshy husk.' Such descriptions are complemented throughout by drawings of each plant from illustrator Lucille Clerc; combined, they make for a beautiful book that can easily be dipped in and out of as the fancy takes you -- Katie Burton * Geographical *
Structured by continent, this book guides the reader around the world, dipping into the stories of the tiny, the towering, the parasitic and the submarine... Helping to paint the picture of not just what each plant looks like, but how it is used, where it sits in the landscape and how it interacts with wildlife, are Lucille Clerc's beautiful illustrations. From the unfurling leaves of the silver tree fern to the colours and impossible shapes of some unique and strange-looking orchids, these drawings add yet another layer of delight... As with much of the natural world, the more one learns about the individual plant species and the stories that tell of our interactions with them-whether positive or negative-the more intriguing they become. Around the World in 80 Plants makes me want to find out yet more about the plants that are so often overlooked as a green background, or seen merely as scenery to frame the animals, yet are vital for supporting life on Earth. As this book so wonderfully shows, they are more than life-support machines: they provide colour, flavour and magic to our everyday lives, and we need to learn to appreciate them * Oryx *

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