Beware! The sordid lives of plants behaving badly. A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. Amy Stewart, best-selling author of Flower Confidential, takes on over 200 of Mother Nature's most appalling creations in an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend.
Stewart renders a vivid portrait of evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, enlighten, and alarm even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.
©2009 Amy Stewart (P)2011 Tantor
"Culling legend and citing science, Stewart's fact-filled, A-Z compendium of nature's worst offenders offers practical and tantalizing composite views of toxic, irritating, prickly, and all-around ill-mannered plants." (Booklist)
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"For the Casual Nerd"
This is an enjoyable book for those who also like to read tidbits of trivia, in this case about poisonous plants. I listened to this while I ran on the treadmill during my workout. Lots of neat stuff to learn about without being too weighed down with specific scientific speak. For the casual nerd who doesn't necessarily have to be into plants.
"Wonderful book. Informative and entertaining."
This is another book I can listen to over and over. Amy Stewart is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. And Coleen Marlo is one of my favorite 'readers' too...very expressive, she holds my attention through the entire book. This is a great book.
"Buy the Book"
i would highly recommend you purchase the printed version of this book. the text is interesting, but it reads like an encyclopedia.
"Grows on You Like Kudzu"
Amy Stewart just published the already much referenced “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks” (2013).” I knew when I finished “The Drunken Botanist” I’d never settle for a badly made cocktail. Just yesterday, I was annoyed to see a “martini” menu at a well known chain restaurant (whose name resembles The Cheesecake Factory) listing only “vodka martinis”. Thanks to Stewart’s help, I made sure I got a real martini – made with gin.
“Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities” (2009) is much shorter than “The Drunken Botanist”, and not quite as fun. There are no drink recipes in this one, but plenty of advice on what NOT to eat or drink.
In Stewart’s hands, each ‘wicked plant’ takes on a distinct personality. Some are bullying newcomers, like Japanese-native kudzu, which was imported for erosion control but is invading the American south. Some plants are deceptive, like foxglove. Used correctly, it produces the life saving digitalis. Used incorrectly, foxglove kills. It turns out the ubiquitous but much-maligned poinsettia plant is an irritant, not a poison.
I realized – and was quite disconcerted – that I am surrounded by poisonous plants. There are beautiful but poisonous oleander trees in my yard, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen hemlock in my yard, and, thinking back on it – as much as I loved pulling up and eating raw rhubarb as a child, I’m very lucky I’m here.
“Wicked Plants”, like Stewart’s “Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects” (2011), is an A to Z encyclopedia of the bad boys of the natural world.
I wondered if I might have been better off with “Wicked Plants” in print so that I could see what Stewart was describing. I thought about it, and realized that if I had done that, I wouldn’t have had Colleen Marlo’s narration to tell me how to pronounce the names.
I’m not sure that I’ll buy “Wicked Plants” in text (I will buy “The Drunken Botanist” on paper for the recipes!), but it was definitely worth the listen.
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"How did they do it???"
Amy Stewart has accomplished a remarkable feat! She has made what essentially should be a field guide to noxious weeds into an interesting audible book! The book gives a lot of botanical facts - interspersed with a lot of personal stories about the effect of the various weeds on people . . . as well as habitat. What really impressed me, however, was Coleen Marlo's impeccable Latin! She lets those compliccated botanical names roll off her tongue like a true native! Interesting read/listen - but I'm still not convinced that this is the best format to truly appreciate this work!
"Peaceful Planet my eye!"
Great information delivered with grace. You can almost hear her wrinkle her nose. I will get her other audible books , too.
Informative and enjoyable, but not enthralling by any stretch. There were a lot of solid takeaways that made Wicked Plants entirely worthwhile to listen to, so I recommend it.
"Very interesting facts. I loved it. Good read."
Interesting, factual, great!
Wicked Bugs. Same context, different life.
Wicked! The movie.
Great series. Do more, please.
I liked the way she described the chemical reactions to the human body for each type of plant. It amazed me about the effects of corn!
Who knew that Deadly Nightshade is related to the tomato? And nicotine from the tobacco leaf is a neurotoxin. This kind of information is absolutely invaluable.
The narrator was very consistent as there is a specific format to each plant type. She was very engaging.
I had to have the hardcover and have bought several copies for friends. I highly recommend it.
"great information but"
it is just to hard without pictures this is one book that would have really benefited from a pdf readalong file. It also got a bit discounterting to hear over and over "meet the realitives"
still well worth the listen and great information. It could save your life to know not to cook marshmellows on a daphne stick! I think that alone makes it worth getting.
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