334 pages, 99 line illus
Great book on plants, full of passion and insight.
From the publisher's information:
Although animals have attained a high level of sophistication in structure, function, and behavior, it is plants that are at the origin of most food chains. In this volume, Francis Halles examines the human - and even scientific - bias toward animals at the expense of our understanding of plants. Readers will find their ideas about plants fundamentally altered and their appreciation immeasurably enhanced thanks to this intriguing look at the qualities that make plants unique.
Excerpt from the book:
Replacing elephant ivory with vegetable ivory has been presented as an environmental victory. However, who is concerned about the bleak future for the palms that provide the vegetable ivory, the strange Phytelephas of the understory in the western Amazonian rain forest, whose existence is threatened by the destruction of the last primary forests at the foot of the Andes? Would we prefer to see palms vanish rather than elephants? At the supermarket I found a shampoo , 'Pure, natural, with essential oils of sage and juniper berry, chamomile, orange and wood rose.' The label stated nicely, 'This product was not tested on animals.' Why do we have a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but not one for prevention of cruelty to plants? Why do we have leagues against vivisection but do not protect plane trees against pollarding by arborists? Let us accept the evidence ...
The author is a professor of botany at the University of Montpellier, France. A previous book, Tropical Trees and Forests: an Architectural Analysis (1978), coauthored with Roelof Oldeman and Barry Tomlinson, is one of the most frequently consulted in tropical botany.
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