The Botanical Treasury: Celebrating 40 of the Most Fascinating Plants through Historical Art and Manuscripts
by Christopher Mills (editor)
University of Chicago Press
2016, 176 pages, 8.5 x 11 x 1.6 inches (softcover in clamshell box)
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England has just come out with a sumptuous collection of "40 of the world's most fascinating plants." What makes them the "most fascinating"? For some it's their appearance or structure, for others it might be their medicinal properties or economic impact. But from the bizarre-looking banksia to the quinine-packed cinchona to the functional bottle gourd, what they all have in common is a fascinating story.
The Botanical Treasury, which comes in a richly textured cloth-covered box along with 40 reproduced frameable prints, devotes four pages to each plant. Each entry includes an interesting tale pertaining to the plant along with copies of historical drawings, photos, letters, maps, journal entries and newspaper clippings. Most of the stories are about the naturalists and explorers who hunted for and studied these plants, but the book also celebrates the plants themselves, highlighting their unique features, uses, and capabilities. This makes a gem of a gift for any botanical nerd.
– Carla Sinclair