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Bizarre Botany

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Take a journey through a forest of fascinating facts and explore the wonders of the plant kingdom – from the tallest and smallest, to the smelliest and deadliest. This A to Z gift book reveals some of the most quirky and awe-inspiring stories about plants and will give you a whole new appreciation of all things floral.

Authors: Christina Harrison and Lauren Gardiner. Illustrations: Livi Mills. 196pp. 185 x 128 mm. 30 b/w drawings. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84246 614 8, Kew Publishing 2016.

Did you know that the swamp cypress has breathing knees? Or that poison dart frogs raise their young in tank bromeliads high up in the rainforest canopy? That oak galls can be used as a source of ink, or that juniper wood once fuelled illicit whisky distilleries? Do you know what a vegetable sheep is, or which plants were used in the Egyptian art of embalming? We are surrounded by plants that live unusual and diverse lives, and we put them to some surprising uses. Bizarre Botany is packed with amazing facts that you'll want to share with everyone you know.  

Media reviews:

Plants are awe-inspiring. Everyday we are surrounded by these fascinating, endlessly useful organisms, yet somehow manage to constantly overlook them. This book aims to change all that, opening our eyes to how amazing they truly are. Guaranteed to make a plant geek out of anyone. James Wong, ethnobotanist, author and TV presenter


Christina Harrison is former editor of Kew magazine and has degrees in Plant Ecology and Garden History. She is author of Kew's Big Trees, The Botanical Adventures of Joseph Banks and co-author of Remarkable Trees and Treasured Trees, from Kew Publishing. Lauren Gardiner is Curator of the Cambridge University Herbarium, with a PhD in the phylogenetic relationships of orchids, and five years of experience working on palm systematics. Lauren is a member of the RHS Orchid Committee, and a number of other botanical and conservation organisations. Livi Mills is an artist and freelance illustrator based in London. Her previous illustrative commissions include the 2015 publication of Virginia Woolf's Kew Gardens. With an MA in Fine Art Printmaking, Livi's work engages with contemporary landscape. She has exhibited at galleries including Hoxton Arches, Orleans House Gallery & The Art Pavilion. 

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