Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flora Mirabilis .. Extraordinary Plants

Flora Mirabilis
A beautifully produced, richly illustrated National Geographic Society book has arrived for review.

Author, Catherine Herbert Howell writes engagingly,
drawing the reader into the fascinating world of plants that have influenced every aspect of our existence from prehistory to the present-day.
Sweet figs and dates to aromatic herbs and tangy citrus,
the grains, grapes, sugarcane and coffee that nourish the body,
to sumptuous flowers that feed the soul,
mind-altering opium poppies, and medicinal discoveries:
Flora Mirabilis draws attention to more than two dozen plants
in a journey through time.

Cultural myths are illuminated, and adventurous explorers come to the fore,
to reveal historical, social, and scientific advances.
Drawn from the archives of the Missouri Botanical Garden Library,
the book's magnificent botanical images
will be savored by garden, art and nature lovers.
Postscript - I received the following comment:
"I'm a little fuzzy about the phrase "arrived for review". Does it mean that you received compensation
in the form of a free book in exchange for an unbiased review. If so, you should clearly disclose this information."
If my phrasing is unclear, then I hasten to add, I was given a copy of the book.
It merited a recommendation, and so I chose to review it.


  1. Sounds a great book.
    My Daughter has been collecting photos and information on the medicinal properties of the many trees on her partners land in the Gambia. Zion is fascinating to listen too his father was a medicine man and Zion is so knowledgeable about the plant uses. Looking them up on the internet just confirms what he already knows. People make such a fuss about Chinese medicine but I think African medicine is even older than Chinese.

    Daughter is doing the book for their records but I have tried to encourage her to see about getting it published. Zion's land is quite a large compound and with many old trees he believes he has specimens of most of the native trees in the Gambia. While his neighbours have cleared their land his land stands out as a bit of an oasis perhaps one day I will get to visit there.

  2. Sounds like a great book. Growing up with National Geographic photographers sharing the world with me, I imagine this is just wonderful. One of these days I am going to visit my brother who lives outside St. Louis and spend days on end at MOBOT.

  3. What a great cover... Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  4. Joanne
    How incredible to have such a link to ancient African medicinal plants. An oasis in Gambia - to have a chance to visit there would truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    How I'd love to meet up with you at MOBOT for an excursion! I wonder if one needs special qualifications to peruse the botanical library artwork ;~D

    The beauty of the cover hints at the riches contained within! And thank you, for your comment.

  5. Hiya Alice

    This looks an interesting read.

    Christmas round the corner, I think I'll send myself a present.

    Aside, for some reason every time I load your blog it builds twice and I ain't double clicking. See, I can get Bay Area Tendrils in stereo!!!