Friday, May 09, 2014

A Garden of Marvels by Ruth Kassinger

A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered That Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants, Ruth Kassinger. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. e-book, 326 pps. including thorough notes.

A Garden of Marvels is all about plants and their secret lives. Discoveries about how basic botany works took several centuries of time and not a little bit of conflict. This book is full of interesting tidbits, anecdotes, and tales of scientists who studied plants. A few short centuries ago, we did not understand how various plants reproduced. We did not even think of flowers as having anything to do with reproduction. Nowadays, companies are studying how to convert the photosynthesis cycle of rice from the inefficient C3 to the more efficient C4 via injection of D.N.A. from another plant in order to increase the yield so more people will be fed. The true hope of bio-fuels is not in corn or grease as a few Americans have experimented with but in a specific kind of bacteria which Europeans have concentrated on. Botany is fascinating and useful. A Garden of Marvels testifies to that.

sapphoq reviews says: Ruth Kassinger has written a masterpiece in A Garden of Marvels. For those who like plants and science both, highly recommended.

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