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Academic & Professional Books  Botany  Plants & Botany: Biology & Ecology

Reaching for the Sun How Plants Work

By: John King
232 pages, no illustrations
Reaching for the Sun
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  • Reaching for the Sun ISBN: 9780521736688 Edition: 2 Paperback Jan 2011 Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • Reaching for the Sun ISBN: 9780521518048 Edition: 2 Hardback Jan 2011 Usually dispatched within 6 days
Selected version: £32.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

From their ability to use energy from sunlight to make their own food, to combating attacks from diseases and predators, plants have evolved an amazing range of life-sustaining strategies. Written with the non-specialist in mind, John King's lively natural history explains how plants function, from how they gain energy and nutrition to how they grow, develop and ultimately die.

New to this edition is a section devoted to plants and the environment, exploring how problems created by human activities, such as global warming, pollution of land, water and air, and increasing ocean acidity, are impacting on the lives of plants. King's narrative provides a simple, highly readable introduction, with boxes in each chapter offering additional or more advanced material for readers seeking more detail. He concludes that despite the challenges posed by growing environmental perils, plants will continue to dominate our planet.


Preface; 1. Plants are cool, but why?; 2. Photosynthesis: the leitmotiv of life; 3. Respiration: breathing without lungs; 4. Nitrogen, nitrogen, everywhere ...; 5. Nutrition for the healthy lifestyle; 6. Transport of delights; 7. Growth: the long and short of it; 8. The time of their lives; 9. A dash of seasoning; 10. Dormancy: a matter of survival; 11. Stressful tranquility; 12. The colourful world of plants; 13. Fragrance and flavour; 14. Chemical warfare; 15. Not in my back yard!; 16. Cornu copiae: the horn of plenty; 17. Getting dead; Epilogue; Bibliography.

Customer Reviews


John King is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a past President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and in 2001 he was awarded their highest honour, the Gold Medal, 'in recognition of outstanding contributions to plant physiology in Canada'. The first edition of Reaching for the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 1997) was nominated for the Rhone-Poulenc (now Aventis) Prize for Science (General Category).
By: John King
232 pages, no illustrations
Media reviews
'This is a book to be heaped with laurels, to be awarded the palm. This is a book to go bananas about.' Tim Radford, The Guardian 'Reaching for the Sun will answer all sorts of pressing questions ... is fun as well as informative. It is ideal for the general reader and for A-level students.' Barrie Goldsmith, New Scientist 'John King is an enthusiast and his breathless enthusiasm is liberally scattered throughout this book, which covers a very wide spectrum of plant physiology ... an excellent text for a general reading list for those about to start university courses in biology.' Deri Tomos, Trends in Plant Science 'An accessible account for lay people.' Nature 'Dr King brings excitement and wonder to what is arguably the most active area in botany today.' The American Society of Plant Physiologists '... a very readable slim book about plant physiology. It exemplifies the ideas that the popular can also be educational ...'. Times Higher Education Supplement
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