After covering such subjects as beetles, frogs, eggs, caterpillars, and even orchids, the University of Chicago Press’ Life-Size series is finally showing signs of going to seed – well, “seeds” actually (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
I could spend paragraphs explaining how significant the recent publication of “Plants of the World; An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants” is to the history of the literature of botany; how it’s “the first book to systematically explore every vascular plant family on earth,” and how it’s “organized in a modern phylogenetic order [with] detailed entries for each family.”
Whenever someone begins a sentence, “Can I ask you a question about butterflies?” the odds are good, particularly if I’m in North America at the time, that it is going to be a question about Monarchs. And there’s plenty of reasons for this. Even if Monarchs aren’t prominent among your local lepidoptera there is simply something about these vivid black-and-orange butterflies that has captured the popular imagination.
Back in 1971, Dan Jason published “Some Useful Wild Plants; A Foraging Guide to Food and Medicine From Nature,” a book that eventually sold over 30,000 copies and became one of the best known books on foraging for wild plants in Canada and the northern United States.