"Highly entertaining…Without being sentimental approximately it, Mr. Mabey will get us to examine lifestyles from the crops' standpoint. His technological know-how is sound, he is witty, and his language is engaging." ―Constance Casey, New York Times
The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the connection among people and the dominion of crops by way of the popular naturalist Richard Mabey.
A wealthy, sweeping, and beautifully readable paintings of botanical heritage, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our ask yourself, and upturned our rules approximately background, technological know-how, attractiveness, and trust. Going again to the beginnings of human heritage, Mabey indicates how plant life, timber, and vegetation were critical to human adventure not only as assets of foodstuff and drugs yet as items of worship, actors in construction myths, and emblems of struggle and peace, lifestyles and death.
Writing in a celebrated variety that the Economist calls “delightful and casually learned,” Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our personal backyards. He levels throughout the paintings of writers, artists, and scientists reminiscent of da Vinci, Keats, Darwin, and van Gogh and throughout approximately 40,000 years of human background: Ice Age photographs of flowers in historical cave paintings and the earliest representations of the backyard of Eden; Newton’s apple and gravity, Priestley’s sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth’s daffodils; the background of cultivated vegetation resembling maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the methods the solid oak turned the emblem of British nationhood and the enormous sequoia got here to epitomize the spirit of America.
Complemented by means of dozens of full-color illustrations, The Cabaret of Plants is the magnum opus of a very good naturalist and a rare exploration of the deeply interwined heritage of people and the typical world.
35 colour illustrations
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Extra info for The Cabaret of Plants: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination
The yew were completely defined, well compacted either bodily and traditionally. And there the problem may have ended, with the entire veteran yews tidied away as pious bouquets planted at a church’s founding, yet for the intervention of Allen Meredith. it might be difficult to visualize a guy much less just like the decent and educational Cornish. Meredith had a marginally of the Celtic hedge preacher approximately him. He’d left college at fifteen with out skills, served within the Royal eco-friendly Jackets, lived tough for your time, received in hassle with the legislation. Then, within the mid Seventies, he had the sequence of mystical goals with which i started this tale. For the following decade he cycled approximately Britain, looking for the yew’s ‘secret’. It turned an obsession, and prefer Cornish, Meredith did his fieldwork meticulously. He visited just about all the surviving old bushes, measured them, probed deeper than a person formerly into historic files, had extra revelatory desires. And he grew to become confident that the traditional knowledge approximately their a while was once flawed through a number of orders of importance. He drew up an inventory of a few 500 yews he believed have been greater than 1,000 years outdated. At Ankerwycke close to Windsor, there's a yew of thirty-one-feet girth which, he argued, used to be the tree less than which the Magna Carta was once sealed; in Crowhurst, Surrey, a thirty-five footer, which he placed at over 2,000 years previous; and in Discoed in Wales, a tree far better preserved than the Fortingall yew, yet probably additionally over 5,000 years outdated. those a while could make you giddy, and incredulous. They a long way handed these of any identified oak timber, or certainly of such a lot different species in the world. and so they have been made challenging via the truth that outdated yews, at present, have been considered as virtually most unlikely up to now. such a lot timber battle through 3 targeted phases of progress. for his or her first fifty to 100 years they develop relatively quick, and the recent wooden builds up in a chain of broad annual jewelry within the trunk. In center age (100–500 years) the scale of the crown stabilises, the once a year increment of recent wooden is still consistent, and the corresponding jewelry develop into thinner and extra uniform. In previous age, the tree may very well diminish as branches fall off or die again, the construction of latest wooden declines, and annual earrings develop into very skinny. yet yews are an exception. for his or her first four hundred or 500 years they develop quite often, if slowly, and will be adequately dated by means of elimination a skinny center from the trunk and counting the yearly earrings. yet at any level after this they could spring right into a development of recent progress relatively not like the other temperate species. they don't seem to be the single tree to turn into hole in previous age, yet one among only a few to take advantage of this as a chance to spring into younger generative mode back. An outdated yew can commence bewildering progress spurts in new dimensions. It builds buttresses around the closing trunk, regenerates new shoots around parts of even catastrophic harm, sends up new trunklets from branches that are low sufficient to lie at the flooring and positioned down roots. so much dramatically, it might plunge aerial roots down into the hole centre.