"Fascinating...Buchmann's knowledge and enthusiasm jump off the page." —The Wall Street Journal
"An extraordinarily good book." —Edward O. Wilson
The lively and definitive story of the beauty, sexuality, lore, economics, and ecology of the world 's flowers, written by a devoted scientist and illustrated with his stunning photographs. Flowers—and the fruits they often become—feed, clothe, and inspire us. Indeed, they have done so for all of human history. Yet although we use flowers to celebrate important occasions, to express love, and to please our senses, we know little about them, their functions in nature, or even how we depend on them.
In a volume that will delight gardeners, naturalists, cooks, artists, or anyone interested in history or culture, pollination ecologist Stephen Buchmann serves as an expert guide through the fascinating world of flowers. He explains how other species relate to flowers in ways crucial to the natural world. Next he takes us on an engaging exploration of the roles flowers play in the production of food, spices, medicines, and perfumes. Flowering plants, Buchmann then shows, have long served as inspirational themes in art and literature. Flowers have in fact so thoroughly seduced us that we now buy some ten million a day, driving breeders to create infinite varieties and unusual blooms. In this cultural and natural investigation of floral history, Stephen Buchmann's masterful narrative illuminates just why there is, indeed, a reason for flowers.