ABOUT THIS BOOK
Throughout our history trees have been central to our existence. They provide us with vital ingredients for life—food, medicine, materials, even the oxygen we breathe. Ecologically, they are crucial in controlling pollution and moderating the climate, and culturally they are important to our religions, folklore and art. It has also been shown that as well as greening our lives they can improve our health and mental well-being.
Remarkable Trees tells the unique story of more than sixty species, each selected for its resonance and connection with people. In portraits that combine vivid cultural and historical narrative with a firm scientific grounding, Christina Harrison and Tony Kirkham reveal fascinating details of trees from the world’s major environmental zones and habitats. Some are obvious superstars such as oaks, redwoods and coconut, while others are more surprising: we learn of the monkey puzzle, a tree native to Chile that “can grow for 1,000 years,” and of the manchineel, a tree that contains sap so toxic to human skin that it’s a risk to stand beneath it on a rainy day. In these pages are trees that are healers and killers, trees that serve as foundations of great buildings and grand feasts, and trees that leave us with a sense of wonder and of worry for their survival.
In a tribute to the artists and botanists who have been inspired by trees for centuries, this book is filled with 240 delightful illustrations. The varied and beautiful images come from the unrivalled archive at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and they bring this enlightening and enchanting volume to life.
While trees have supported us for millennia, we have recently lost that direct, deep connection with them. Harrison and Kirkham remind us that we do not have to look far to reestablish that relationship and that we can still cherish the splendor and significance of these quiet giants.