Kathy Willis - Plants: From Roots to Riches - Group

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Plants: From Roots to Riches

By Kathy Willis

Tie-in to the landmark 25-part BBC Radio 4 series with Kew Gardens.

Tie-in to the landmark 25-part BBC Radio 4 series with Kew Gardens.

Our peculiarly British obsession with gardens goes back a long way and Plants: From Roots to Riches takes us back to where it all began. Across 25 vivid episodes, Kathy Willis, Kew's charismatic Head of Science, shows us how the last 250 years transformed our relationship with plants.

Behind the scenes at the Botanical Gardens all kinds of surprising things have been going on. As the British Empire painted the atlas red, explorers, adventurers and scientists brought the most interesting specimens and information back to London.

From the discovery of Botany Bay to the horrors of the potato famine, from orchid hunters to quinine smugglers, from Darwin's experiments to the unexpected knowledge unlocked by the 1987 hurricane, understanding how plants work has changed our history and could safeguard our future.

In the style of A History of the World in 100 Objects, each chapter tells a separate story, but, gathered together, a great picture unfolds, of our most remarkable science, botany.

Plants: From Roots to Riches is a beautifully designed book, packed with 200 images in both colour and black and white from Kew's amazing archives, some never reproduced before. Kathy Willis and Carolyn Fry, the acclaimed popular-science writer, have also added all kinds of fascinating extra history, heroes and villains, memorable stories and interviews. Their book takes us on an exciting rollercoaster ride through our past and future and shows us how much plants really do matter.

Biographical Notes

KATHY WILLIS is Director of Science at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She is also Professor of Biodiversity and a Fellow of Merton College, both at Oxford University. Winner of several awards, she has spent over twenty-five years researching and teaching biodiversity and conservation at Oxford and Cambridge.

CAROLYN FRY is a freelance science writer. She has written seven successful books, including Plant Hunters, winner of the European Garden Book Prize. Formerly Editor of the Royal Geographical Society's magazine, Geographical, her work has been published in New Scientist, BBC Online, Telegraph, Guardian, The Times and Independent on Sunday.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781444798234
  • Publication date: 14 Aug 2014
  • Page count: 368
  • Imprint: John Murray

An aesthetic, historical and scientific journey through the flowering of botany as a science. This beautifully illustrated book, replete with botanical plates, scientific engravings and fine photographs, is nearly as much of a treat as a visit to the gardens

A whistle-stop tour of the wonderful world of botany — DAILY TELEGRAPH
A must for anyone interested in living things and classification — THE SUNDAY TIMES
Vivid, immersive and fascinating — ENGLISH GARDEN
An accessible introduction, enriched by archive images — INDEPENDENT
Lavished with beautiful, never-before seen photographs and illustrations, this book offers something for everyone - drama, adventure, history, science and innovation. A must-read — BBC Country File
The fascinating history of some of the plants we take for granted — BBC Wildlife
Vivid, immersive and fascinating, this book takes the reader on a global voyage of discovery, travelling through time and tide to ?chart the incredible stories behind myriad plants — English Garden
A fascinating portrait — Sunday Times
Lively, thought-provoking and scholarly — Garden Design
This book will stimulate all who love plants, both amateurs and professionals — Historic Garden's Review
Well illustrated and timely, this Kew-centric account places the scientific work of the institution firmly within its historical context — BBC History Magazine