Seeds are nature’s consummate survivors. The next time you admire a field of waving green grassland or a stunning grove of acacia, stop to consider how it got that way—often against incredible odds. Seeds can survive freezing temperatures and drought. They can pass through our digestive systems without damage and weather a trip across the ocean, hitching a ride on marine debris. They can even endure complete desiccation, a feat taken to extraordinary lengths by the date palm, a seed from which was recovered from the palace of Herod the Great was germinated after some two thousand years.
The Book of Seeds takes readers through six hundred of the world’s seed species, revealing their extraordinary beauty and rich diversity. Each page pairs a beautifully composed photo of a seed—life-size, and, in some cases, enlarged to display fine detail—with a short description, a map showing distribution, and information on conservation status. The whole spectrum of seeds is covered here. There are prolific species like corn and less widely distributed species, like the brilliant blue seeds of the traveler’s palm or the bird of paradise flower, aptly named for its distinctive orange coiffure. There are tiny seeds and seeds weighing up to forty pounds. And while seeds in all their shapes, sizes, and colors grant us sustenance, there are even some we would be wise to treat with caution, such as the rosary pea, whose seeds are considered more toxic than ricin.
The essential guide to these complex plant creations, The Book of Seeds offers readers a rare, up-close look that will inspire scientists and nature lovers alike.
As biological diversity continues to shrink at an alarming rate, the loss of plant species poses a threat seemingly less visible than the loss of animals but in many ways more critical. In this book, one of America's leading ethnobotanists warns about our loss of natural vegetation and plant diversity while providing insights into traditional Native agricultural practices in the Americas.
Gary Paul Nabhan here reveals the rich diversity of plants found in tropical forests and their contribution to modern crops, then tells how this diversity is being lost to agriculture and lumbering. He then relates "local parables" of Native American agriculture—from wild rice in the Great Lakes region to wild gourds in Florida—that convey the urgency of this situation and demonstrate the need for saving the seeds of endangered plants. Nabhan stresses the need for maintaining a wide gene pool, not only for the survival of these species but also for the preservation of genetic strains that can help scientists breed more resilient varieties of other plants.
Enduring Seeds is a book that no one concerned with our environment can afford to ignore. It clearly shows us that, as agribusiness increasingly limits the food on our table, a richer harvest can be had by preserving ancient ways.
This edition features a new foreword by Miguel Altieri, one of today's leading spokesmen for sustainable agriculture and the preservation of indigenous farming methods.
Faith in a Seed contains the hitherto unpublished work The Dispersion of Seeds, one of Henry D. Thoreau's last important research and writing projects, and now his first new book to appear in 125 years.With the remarkable clarity and grace that characterize all of his writings, Thoreau describes the ecological succession of plant species through seed dispersal. The Dispersion of Seeds, which draws on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, refutes the then widely accepted theory that some plants spring spontaneously to life, independent of roots, cuttings, or seeds. As Thoreau wrote: "Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Henry D. Thoreau's Faith in a Seed, was first published in hardcover in 1993 by Island Press under the Shearwater Books imprint, which unifies scientific views of nature with humanistic ones. This important work, the first publication of Thoreau's last manuscript, is now available in paperback. Faith in a Seed contains Thoreau's last important research and writing project, The Dispersion of Seeds, along with other natural history writings from late in his life. Edited by Bradley P. Dean, professor of English at East Carolina University and editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin, these writings demonstrate how a major American author at the height of his career succeeded in making science and literature mutually enriching.
Elizabeth Lawrence occupies a secure place in the pantheon of twentieth-century gardening writers that includes Gertrude Jekyll and Vita Sackville-West of Great Britain and Katherine S. White of the United States. Her books, such as A Southern Garden (1942) and The Little Bulbs (1957), remain in print, continuing to win praise from criticis and to delight an ever-widening circle of readers. In Gardening for Love, Lawrence reveals another world of garden writing, the world of the rural women of the South with whom she corresponded extensively from the late 1950s into the mid-1970s in responce to their advertisements for herbs and ornamental perennials in several market bulletins (published by state departments of agriculture for the benefit of farmers).
It was Eudora Welty who awakened Elizabeth Lawrence's interest in this fascinating topic by putting her name on the mailing list of The Mississippi Market Bulletin, a twice-monthly collection of classified advertisements founded in 1928 and still published today. Lawrence soon discovered market bulletins from the Carolinas and other Southern states, as well as similar bulletins published privately in the North. She began ordering plants from the bulletins, and there ensued a lively exchange of letters wit the women who sold them.
Gardening for Love is Lawrence's exploration of this little-known side of American horticulture and her affectionate tribute to country people who shared her passion for plants. Drawing on the letters she received, sometimes a great many of them from the same persons over many years, she delves into traditional plant lore, herbal remedies, odd and often highly poetic vernacular plant names peculiar to particular regions of the South, and the herb collectors of the mountains of the Carolinas and Georgia. She focuses primarily on the Southeast and the Deep South, but her wide knowledge of both literature and botany gives Gardening for Love a dimension that transcends the category of regional writing.
Farmers and gardeners have long appreciated a wide variety of plants and have nurtured them for meals, healing, and exchange. But diversity too often has been surrendered to monocultures of fields and spirits, predisposing much of modern agriculture to uniformity and, consequently, vulnerability. Today it is primarily at the individual level—such as growing and saving a strange old bean variety or a curious-looking gourd—that any lasting conservation actually takes place.
As scientists grapple with the erosion of genetic diversity of crops and their wild relatives, old-timey farmers and gardeners continue to save, propagate, and pass on folk varieties and heirloom seeds. Virginia Nazarea focuses on the role of these seedsavers in the perpetuation of diversity. She thoughtfully examines the framework of scientific conservation and argues for the merits of everyday conservation—one that is beyond programmatic design. Whether considering small-scale rice and sweet potato farmers in the Philippines or participants in the Southern Seed Legacy and Introduced Germplasm from Vietnam in the American South, she explores roads not necessarily less traveled but certainly less recognized in the conservation of biodiversity.
Through characters and stories that offer a wealth of insights about human nature and society, Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers helps readers more fully understand why biodiversity persists when there are so many pressures for it not to. The key, Nazarea explains, is in the sovereign spaces seedsavers inhabit and create, where memories counter a culture of forgetting and abandonment engendered by modernity. A book about theory as much as practice, it profiles these individuals, who march to their own beat in a world where diversity is increasingly devalued as the predictability of mass production becomes the norm.
Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers offers a much-needed, scientifically researched perspective on the contribution of seedsaving that illustrates its critical significance to the preservation of both cultural knowledge and crop diversity around the world. It opens new conversations between anthropology and biology, and between researchers and practitioners, as it honors conservation as a way of life.
This book offers a comprehensive overview of landscape and land use in southeast Italy in the first millennium BCE. Using the most up-to-date techniques, it combines archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data with information from excavations, field surveys, and ancient written texts to place the relationship between people and landscapes in a broad geographical and chronological framework. It also confronts questions of food habits, the scale and organization of agricultural production, the influx of Greek and Roman colonists, and the effects of globalization on local and regional land use.
The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself.
Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life.
"I have great faith in a seed," Thoreau wrote. "Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Written with a scientist’s knowledge and a gardener’s delight, An Orchard Invisible offers those wonders in a package that will be irresistible to science buffs and green thumbs alike.
The tallgrass prairie offers solutions to the many environmental challenges facing our water, soils, and ecosystems. Planting prairie on just 10 percent of a field can effectively remove excess phosphorous and nitrogen from the remaining 90 percent. Deep prairie roots and dense aboveground growth filter and hold soils, keeping them from eroding into our streams and rivers. Plants such as common milkweed are the key to the monarch butterfly’s recovery. In light of these benefits, perhaps our love affair with European turf grass is slowly giving way to an appreciation of the beauty of our original native prairie.
As interest in these wildflowers and grasses has grown, so has demand for better resources to identify the hundreds of species that make up the native prairie. In The Prairie in Seed, Dave Williams shows us how to identify wildflowers when they are out of bloom and, in particular, how to harvest their seeds. Without the flower color and shape as guides, it can be difficult to identify prairie plants. Imagine trying to distinguish between a simple prairie sunflower and an ox-eye sunflower with no flowers to look at!
In this richly illustrated guide, Williams offers dormant plant identification information, seed descriptions, and advice on seed harvesting and cleaning for seventy-three of the most common wildflowers found in the tallgrass prairie. He includes photographs and descriptions of the plants in bloom and in seed to assist in finding them when you are ready to harvest. Each species description explains where the seeds are located on the plant, when seed ripening begins, and how many seeds each species produces, along with a photograph and approximate measurements of the actual seed. Finally, this guide provides assistance on how and when to hand-harvest seeds for each species, as well as some simple tips on seed cleaning.
An indispensable guide for anyone involved in prairie restoration or conservation, this book is the perfect complement to Williams’s The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification in the Upper Midwest.
While there is enormous public interest in biodiversity, food sourcing, and sustainable agriculture, romantic attachments to heirloom seeds and family farms have provoked misleading fantasies of an unrecoverable agrarian past. The reality, as Courtney Fullilove shows, is that seeds are inherently political objects transformed by the ways they are gathered, preserved, distributed, regenerated, and improved. In The Profit of the Earth, Fullilove unearths the history of American agricultural development and of seeds as tools and talismans put in its service.
Organized into three thematic parts, The Profit of the Earth is a narrative history of the collection, circulation, and preservation of seeds. Fullilove begins with the political economy of agricultural improvement, recovering the efforts of the US Patent Office and the nascent US Department of Agriculture to import seeds and cuttings for free distribution to American farmers. She then turns to immigrant agricultural knowledge, exploring how public and private institutions attempting to boost midwestern wheat yields drew on the resources of willing and unwilling settlers. Last, she explores the impact of these cereal monocultures on biocultural diversity, chronicling a fin-de-siècle Ohio pharmacist’s attempt to source Purple Coneflower from the diminishing prairie. Through these captivating narratives of improvisation, appropriation, and loss, Fullilove explores contradictions between ideologies of property rights and common use that persist in national and international development—ultimately challenging readers to rethink fantasies of global agriculture’s past and future.
Quality Maintenance in Stored Grains and Seeds was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Storage molds are a major cause of quality loss in grains and seeds held in farm bins and tanks, in commercial elevators and warehouses, and in barge and ship transport. The damage done by these storage molds is at first invisible, but later shows up as caking, mustiness, total spoilage of part or all of the grain, and heating - sometimes to the temperature of ignition. The authors, both of whom have had extensive first-hand field and laboratory experience with these grain storage fungi and the problems they cause, summarize in readable and readily understandable form the basic principles and specific practices to be followed in order to minimize such losses.
Chapters are devoted to grain grades and quality; storage fungi; conditions that promote or prevent loss in quality; spoilage in barge and ship transport; mycotoxins (toxic compounds produced by fungi growing in grains and feeds) and mycotoxicoses (the diseases caused in animals that consume such toxic products); insects, mites, and storage fungi, quality control; and identification of storage fungi as an aid in evaluation of grain condition and storability.
The Brown Goose, the White Case Knife, Ora’s Speckled Bean, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter — these are just a few of the heirloom fruits and vegetables you’ll encounter in Bill Best’s remarkable history of seed saving and the people who preserve both unique flavors and the Appalachian culture associated with them. As one of the people at the forefront of seed saving and trading for over fifty years, Best has helped preserve numerous varieties of beans, tomatoes, corn, squashes, and other fruits and vegetables, along with the family stories and experiences that are a fundamental part of this world. While corporate agriculture privileges a few flavorless but hardy varieties of daily vegetables, seed savers have worked tirelessly to preserve genetic diversity and the flavors rooted in the Southern Appalachian Mountains — referred to by plant scientists as one of the vegetative wonders of the world.
Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste will introduce readers to the cultural traditions associated with seed saving, as well as the remarkable people who have used grafting practices and hand-by-hand trading to keep alive varieties that would otherwise have been lost. As local efforts to preserve heirloom seeds have become part of a growing national food movement, Appalachian seed savers play a crucial role in providing alternatives to large-scale agriculture and corporate food culture. Part flavor guide, part people’s history, Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste will introduce you to a world you’ve never known — or perhaps remind you of one you remember well from your childhood.
An essential reference for students, seed technologists, researchers, and seed industry personnel, this comprehensive guide outlines the most widely performed modern seed quality tests, explores the principles behind them, the history of seed testing, why seeds are tested and when, and sampling, sub-sampling, seed laboratory management, accreditation, and seed quality assurance programs. The authors describe statistical applications to seed testing and tolerances, and they provide a detailed morphological and structural description of seed formation and development. The book examines the testing of genetic traits and transgenic seeds, including DNA and protein genetic purity tests, and cultivar purity identification for conventional seeds. In addition to the most common seed purity and viability tests, tests for seed and seedling vigor, seed-borne diseases and seed moisture determination are also discussed.
Seeds: A Natural History
Carolyn Fry University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress QK661.F79 2016 | Dewey Decimal 581.467
From the magnificence of a towering redwood to the simple elegance of a tiny dandelion, seed-bearing plants abound on planet Earth. The sheer diversity of plants thriving today is largely thanks to the evolution of the seed, as this made plants resilient to environmental changes by enabling them to await optimum conditions for growth before springing to life. In a time of declining biodiversity, studying seeds is now helping scientists preserve this plant diversity for future generations.
With Seeds, Carolyn Fry offers a celebration of these vital but unassuming packages of life. She begins with a sweeping tour through human history, designed to help us understand why we should appreciate and respect these floral parcels. Wheat, corn, and rice, she reminds us, supply the foundations of meals eaten by people around the world. Countless medicines, oils, clothing materials, and building supplies are available only because of the versatility and variety of seed-bearing plants. Fry then provides a comprehensive history of the evolution of seeds, explaining the myriad ways that they have adapted, survived, and thrived across the globe. Delving deeper into the science of seeds, she reveals the fascinating processes of dormancy, reproduction, germination, and dispersal, and showcases the estimable work conservationists are doing today to gather and bank seeds in order to prevent species from going extinct.
Enriched by a stunning array of full-color images, Seeds offers a comprehensive exploration of some of the most enduring and essential players in the natural world.
Seeds for economically important crops are big business indeed. As large seed companies continue to improve their product in various ways, they make use of the original gene pools of these plants, often located in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. With increasing recognition that plant germplasm is an important raw material, highly charged international disputes have developed over the exchange and use of this material, adding another point of contention between poor nations and the manufacturing wealthier ones. Twenty experts from several nations, representing both the natural and social sciences, consider the historical background, the issue of patent rights as applied to plant germplasm, the nature of global genetic interdependence, the internationalization of the seed industry, the implications of biotechnology on genetic resources, the Third World attitude toward the debate, and the viewpoints of the International Agricultural Research Centers.
Barbara Kingsolver's books have sold millions of copies. The Poisonwood Bible was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and her work is studied in courses ranging from English-as-a-second-language classes to seminars in doctoral programs. Yet, until now, there has been relatively little scholarly analysis of her writings.
Seeds of Change: Critical Essays on Barbara Kingsolver, edited by Priscilla V. Leder, is the first collection of essays examining the full range of Kingsolver's literary output. The articles in this new volume provide analysis, context, and commentary on all of Kingsolver's novels, her poetry, her two essay collections, and her full-length nonfiction memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.
Professor Leder begins Seeds of Change with a brief critical biography that traces Kingsolver's development as a writer. Leder also includes an overview of the scholarship on Kingsolver's oeuvre. Organized by subject matter, the 14 essays in the book are divided into three sections tha deal with recurrent themes in Kingsolver's compositions: identity, social justice, and ecology.
The pieces in this ground-breaking volume draw upon contemporary critical approaches—ecocritical, postcolonial, feminist, and disability studies—to extend established lines of inquiry into Kingsolver's writing and to take them in new directions. By comparing Kingsolver with earlier writers such as Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau, the contributors place her canon in literary context and locate her in cultural contexts by revealing how she re-works traditional narratives such as the Western myth. They also address the more controversial aspects of her writings, examining her political advocacy and her relationship to her reader, in addition to exploring her vision of a more just and harmonious world.
Fully indexed with a comprehensive works-cited section, Seeds of Change gives scholars and students important insight and analysis which will deepen and broaden their understanding and experience of Barbara Kingsolver's work.
Priscilla V. Leder has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment), Amerikastudien/American Studies, and Southern Studies. She is professor of English at Texas State University—San Marcos.
Seeds of Disquiet
Cheryl Heppner Gallaudet University Press, 1992 Library of Congress HV2534.H43A3 1992 | Dewey Decimal 362.42092
-- Library Journal
"Bridges the gap between the silent and the hearing worlds."
-- Publishers Weekly
In her autobiography Seeds of Disquiet, Cheryl Heppner writes of experiencing severe hearing loss twice. Spinal meningitis caused a profound loss of hearing when she was six, and for the next 18 years she worked hard to live the life of a "normal" hearing person. Through exhaustive work in speech therapy and speechreading, she excelled in school and college, performing Herculean feats without the assistance of trained interpreters or notetakers.
Then, when she was 25, two strokes left her completely deaf. For the next 20 years she worked to recreate her life through sign language and the Deaf community. The process stunned her by revealing how much she had missed before. Initially embittered, Cheryl Heppner later went on to use her astonishing energy as an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Seeds of Disquiet celebrates her accomplishments, the most significant of which, perhaps, was her reconciliation with her loved ones from her former life with her new outlook.
Cheryl Heppner is the Director of the Fairfax Resource Center for the Hearing-Impaired in Fairfax, VA.
Food is more than simple sustenance. It feeds our minds as well as our bodies. It nurtures us emotionally as well as physically. It holds memories. In fact, one of the surprising consequences of globalization and urbanization is the expanding web of emotional attachments to farmland, to food growers, and to place. And there is growing affection, too, for home gardening and its “grow your own food” ethos. Without denying the gravity of the problems of feeding the earth’s population while conserving its natural resources, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope reminds us that there are many positive movements and developments that demonstrate the power of opposition and optimism.
This broad collection brings to the table a bag full of tools from anthropology, sociology, genetics, plant breeding, education, advocacy, and social activism. By design, multiple voices are included. They cross or straddle disciplinary, generational, national, and political borders. Contributors demonstrate the importance of cultural memory in the persistence of traditional or heirloom crops, as well as the agency exhibited by displaced and persecuted peoples in place-making and reconstructing nostalgic landscapes (including gardens from their homelands). Contributions explore local initiatives to save native and older seeds, the use of modern technologies to conserve heirloom plants, the bioconservation efforts of indigenous people, and how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been successfully combated. Together they explore the conservation of biodiversity at different scales, from different perspectives, and with different theoretical and methodological approaches. Collectively, they demonstrate that there is reason for hope.
Seeds of Sustainability is a groundbreaking analysis of agricultural development and transitions toward more sustainable management in one region. An invaluable resource for researchers, policymakers, and students alike, it examines new approaches to make agricultural landscapes healthier for both the environment and people.
The Yaqui Valley is the birthplace of the Green Revolution and one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world, using irrigation, fertilizers, and other technologies to produce some of the highest yields of wheat anywhere. It also faces resource limitations, threats to human health, and rapidly changing economic conditions. In short, the Yaqui Valley represents the challenge of modern agriculture: how to maintain livelihoods and increase food production while protecting the environment.
Renowned scientist Pamela Matson and colleagues from leading institutions in the U.S. and Mexico spent fifteen years in the Yaqui Valley in Sonora, Mexico addressing this challenge. Seeds of Sustainability represents the culmination of their research, providing unparalleled information about the causes and consequences of current agricultural methods. Even more importantly, it shows how knowledge can translate into better practices, not just in the Yaqui Valley, but throughout the world.
Settlers crossing the tallgrass prairie in the early 1800s were greeted by a seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Today, although the tallgrass prairie has been reduced to a tiny percentage of its former expanse, people are working to restore and reconstruct prairie communities. This lavishly illustrated guide to seeds and seedlings, crafted by Tallgrass Prairie Center botanist Dave Williams and illustrator Brent Butler, will insure that everyone from urban gardeners to grassland managers can properly identify and germinate seventy-two species of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses in eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma.
Williams has created a brilliant, nearly foolproof system of identification and verification. Two primary keys lead to eleven secondary keys that link to characteristic groups of tallgrass plants: seven groups for wildflowers and four groups for grasses. To identify a seedling, use the primary key to discover its place in the secondary key, then turn to that characteristic group to find your seedling. Circles on each full seedling photograph correspond to close-up photographs; triangles on these close-ups illustrate information in the text to further pinpoint identification. Drawings of leaves illuminate exact identification, and enlarged photographs of each seed provide yet another way to confirm identification.
Thousands of seeds were sprouted in the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s greenhouse to provide seedlings close in size and development to those grown in the field near the end of their first season; research and photography took place over four years. Williams’s text for each species includes a thorough description, a comparison of similar species, and guidance for germination and growth. A complete glossary supports the text, which is concise but detailed enough to be accessible to beginning prairie enthusiasts.
Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to preserve the native vegetation of prairie remnants or reconstruct a tallgrass prairie of whatever size—from home gardens to schoolyards to roadsides to large acreages—will benefit from the hundreds of photographs and drawings and the precise text in this meticulously prepared guide.
Compared to the obvious complexity of animals, plants at a glance seem relatively simple in form. But that simplicity is deceptive: the plants around us are the result of millennia of incredible evolutionary adaptations that have allowed them to survive, and thrive, under wildly changing conditions and in remarkably specific ecological niches. Much of this innovation, however, is invisible to the naked eye.
With Wonders of the Plant Kingdom, the naked eye gets an unforgettable boost. A stunning collaboration between science and art, this gorgeous book presents hundreds of images of plants taken with a scanning electron microscope and hand-colored by artist Rob Kesseler to reveal the awe-inspiring adaptations all around us. The surface of a peach—with its hairs, or trichomes, and sunken stomata, or breathing pores—emerges from these pages in microscopic detail. The dust-like seeds of the smallest cactus species in the world, the Blossfeldia liliputana—which measures just twelve millimeters fully grown—explode here with form, color, and character, while the flower bud of a kaffir lime, cross-sectioned, reveals the complex of a flower bud with the all-important pistil in the center.
Accompanying these extraordinary images are up-to-date explanations of the myriad ways that these plants have ensured their own survival—and, by proxy, our own. Gardeners and science buffs alike will marvel at this wholly new perspective on the world of plant diversity.