A tree that sheds poison daggers, a glistening red seed that stops the heart, a shrub that causes paralysis, a vine that strangles, a leaf that triggered a war, and beans that tell the truth. In Wicked Plants, Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You’ll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs), which plants make themselves exceedingly unwelcome (like the vine that ate the South), and which ones have been killing for centuries (like the weed that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother). Menacing botanical illustrations and splendidly ghastly drawings create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, alarm, and enlighten even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers. (via Shelfari)
What I Thought
Oh my goodness some nonfiction! And it’s about plants! I am not a gardener. I am, in fact, the person you want to keep away from your plants as I kill them, but nature has gotten back at me by having terrible allergies all year. This book was absolutely brilliant. It was beautiful to look at [even on my Kindle!] and my friend has it on her shelf and it’s even more beautiful. It seems very Victorian and almost esoteric nowadays to read a book abut plants but the stories told by Stewart about all of the plants were great. Some plants are obviously more dangerous than others and her talk of citrus fruit will not keep me away from limes and lemons but it’s just all so fascinating.
Also there is something that feels really nostalgic about all of it. I think that often we don’t actually read an encyclopedia – people just use Wikipedia. Reading about a subject with stories, beautiful images that I think are originally copper etchings [at least that’s what my printmaking past tells me], random factoids, and ultra stuff Latin names is really a joy. Plus it’s also pretty great that the subtitle is, “The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities.” It just makes it all seem so exciting and full of intrigue somehow.
3,900 people are injured annually by electrical outlets while 68,847 are poisoned by plants.
With crazy facts like this I think you’ll really enjoy picking up this book. She has a followup called Wicked Bugs that I’ll have to get my paws on soon to see if it’s as engrossing.