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becke_davis
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Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

[ Edited ]

 

 

Flora Mirabilis 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flora Mirabilis: How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth, and Beauty

 by Catherine H. HowellPeter H. Raven

 

A collaboration between National Geographic and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the new National Geographic book Flora Mirabilis: An Illustrated Time Line of Botanical Exploration, Discovery & Delight offers a fascinating look at how plant explorations and botanical passions have shaped human history and culture. 

 

Synopsis

Flora Mirabilis is a sumptuously designed showcase of superb illustrations paired with fascinating stories of botanical exploration and trade through the ages. A collaboration between National Geographic and the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden, this book will prove an evergreen source of delight, not just for gardeners and flower aficionados, but for anyone interested in the plant world, human civilization, and their intertwined histories.

From prehistory to the present day, Flora Mirabilis blossoms with legend and lore as it culls the most engrossing mysteries and adventures of plant exploration, science, and discovery and garlands them with astonishingly beautiful illustrations. These lavish pages are abloom with the rich details and engaging allure of beloved flowers, stunning gardens, ancient trees, medicinal herbs, and valuable plants of all varieties from around the world. Unique "plant profiles" chronicle the especially remarkable roles each plant has played in matters of economics, politics, and taste.

Illustrated throughout with never-before-published collector’s edition reproductions and introduced with an eloquent foreword by Peter H. Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden, this stunning volume will catch eyes and flower in imaginations everywhere.

Biography

Catherine Herbert Howell has contributed to dozens of books including National Geographic's Book of Peoples of the WorldWonders of the Ancient World, andExpeditions Atlas. Howell was also the editor of the companion book to the PBS documentary “Out of Ireland.” 

Peter H. Raven is recognized as one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants.

 

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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Catherine Herbert Howell has contributed to dozens of books including National Geographic's Book of Peoples of the WorldWonders of the Ancient World, and Expeditions Atlas. Howell was also the editor of the companion book to the PBS documentary “Out of Ireland.” 

Peter H. Raven is recognized as one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants.

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becke_davis
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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

This is from the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/family/chi-tc-home-armchair-1206-1207dec13,0,2979020.story

 

Armchair Gardener: Flora Mirabilis

 

Catherine Herbert Howell has contributed to dozens of books including National Geographic's Book of Peoples of the WorldWonders of the Ancient World, and Expeditions Atlas. Howell was also the editor of the companion book to the PBS documentary “Out of Ireland.” 

Peter H. Raven is recognized as one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants.

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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Here's another review: http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/nicholas_basbanes/2009/11/bits-and-pieces.phtml

 

FLORA MIRABILIS

 

 

 

Flora Mirabilis How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth and Beauty, by Cahterine Herbert Howell (National Geographic Books, 256 pages) Yes, this is a title that will certainly interest gardeners, but of far greater import is the appeal it undoubtedly will have to collectors of botanical books, and people who are interested in various special collections devoted to the genre in general. How plants have figured in history is the essential theme--rice, maize, flax, wheat, cotton, opium poppy, pepper, coffee, grape, potato, passionflower, date, olive, bamboo --use your imagination, the likelihood is that it's here. But making this presentation a special bouquet of wonders for bibliophiles is the 200 illustrations, all of them reproduced from a remarkable rare book collection maintained by the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, established in 1859, and the beneficiary in 1893 of an outstanding library of pre-Linnaean works on medical botany, agriculture, and edible or otherwise useful plants gathered by Edward Sturtevant, a major collector. The earliest work represented in the volume is the Gart der Gesundheit (Garden of Health), a compendium of medicinal botany printed in Germany in 1487. The text is arranged in ten chapters, and follows an arc of botanical exploration and trade throughout the world. Quite a nice book, and ideal as a gift.

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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Click here to see the author's TOP TEN PLANTS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD:

 

http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/html/catalog/photogalleries/mirabilis/mirabilis1.htm

 

From the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC website: http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/speakers/2009/12/10/flora-mirabilis/

 

Image: Illustration of plant

 

An engraving from the book Flora Mirabilis

Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Library

 

Photo: Peter Raven

 

Dr. Peter H. Raven

Photograph by Kristi Foster

 

A collaboration between National Geographic and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the new National Geographic book Flora Mirabilis: An Illustrated Time Line of Botanical Exploration, Discovery & Delight offers a fascinating look at how plant explorations and botanical passions have shaped human history and culture. 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Flora Mirabilis: A beauty of a botanical book

http://eachlittleworld.typepad.com/each_little_world/2009/11/flora-mirabilis.html

"Tis the season for looking at the latest books and looking back at the year's best books in time for holiday giving. No matter how much I publish — and read — on the Web, nothing beats a book in the hand. A beautiful publication like the recently released "Flora Mirabilis" is a great example of why I can still be hooked on a new garden book. Despite the hundreds of gardening books I already own (I stopped counting at 196 with 5 shelves still to go!), there is always room for a worthy addition. 

"Flora Mirabilis" — the title alone is enough to catch a gardner's eye. But the glossy black cover with a red and green Jamaican dogwood and red and green marblelized endpapers might be enough to seal the deal. "Flora Mirabilis" — subtitled "How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth and Beauty: An Illustrated Time Line" — is a joint project between two venerable and highly respected institutions, National Geographic and Missouri Botanical Garden. As such, it has the scholarship to match the wealth of incredible botanical illustrations that appear on every page of the book.

 

 

 

FloraMirabilis1-tp Missouri Botanical Garden    

 

 "Flora Mirabilis" is divided into six concepts and time periods: Origins, Discovery, Exploration, Enlightenment, Empire, and Science. Each section opens with a double-spread illustration, followed by a one page introductory essay and a double-spread timeline. Within each of those six sections are double-page layouts on the noteworthy plants of the given era. Date palm, wheat, rice and the olive are the plants of the Origins era (Prehistory to 1450). 

While it is an excellent idea to highlight such plants, it can be disconcerting to be reading along in the middle of a sentence and then turn the page to what initially looks like a new section. It takes a couple of minutes to figure out how the book is organized and that you just need to turn the page again to find the continuation of your text. Once you've realized that, then you can jump around randomly to read about your favorite introductions.

The text is straightforward and highly readable and — with a subject such as this — touches on almost any aspect of plants that might interest you: myths, medicine, art or adventure. Of course, the book includes a formidable index, as well as a list of titles for further reading and the source of all the illustrations. You can read "Flora Mirabilis" as a serious study or just have fun looking up all your favorites to see what the book has to say about them. You'll find entries on everything from African violets to American ginseng, from yams to yews, along with Dr. Seuss, Johnny Appleseed, Thomas Jefferson and one of my personal favorites, Queen Hatshepsut. (She organized the first known botanical expedition). 

 

    Flora

At 256 pages, the book is not an unmanageable tome. In fact, author Catherine Herbert Howell and the two organizing institutions, beautifully manage an almost impossible feat in pulling together such a vast trove of information and illustration.

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Choisya
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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Thanks Becke - just the thing to start of my New Year book buying with the £100 vouchers I received as gifts!:smileyvery-happy:

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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Let me know what you think of it, Choisya -- this is my kind of book, but I know my taste is sometimes a little quirky. But with National Geographic and the Missouri Botanic Garden behind it, you know it's going to be pretty darn good!

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Choisya
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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

I took delivery of Flora Mirabilis yesterday Becke and spent a very happy afternoon reading it, with snow blizzarding outside,  It is beautifully produced and illustrated - a very good coffee table or gift book but is also packed with lots of interesting information about plants and their history.  

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becke_davis
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Re: Feature for January: FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Howell & Peter Raven

Isn't it a great book, Choisya? I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

 

I'm looking out on a blizzard, too. Good thing we have our garden books to keep us warm!