LyndaT, September 16, 2009 (view all comments by LyndaT)
This book is not only an entertaining read and resource book for gardeners and lovers of exotic plants. It's also a great help for writers of murder mysteries in search of a new and interesting way to kill off their characters. (Maybe someone will start a series of whodunnits that take place in a greenhouse!)
The author, Amy Stewart, has obviously done a great deal of research to find the most interesting true stories of plants that kill, maim, and just plain make us itch.
There's even something for those people who might not care to read the warnings of what that innocent looking plant in your garden might really be -- the illustrations, copper etchings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs are lushiously detailed.
Unfortunately, the smaller cartoonish drawings by Jonathon Rosen, which might have been cute and entertaining in another book, are overshadowed here, looking a little like a dandelion gone to seed placed next to a rose.
I only wish this book was longer!
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Denise Morland, June 21, 2009 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Amy Stewart documents the bad behavior of naughty botanicals in her “Wicked Plants”. This bad behavior ranges in classification from Painful, Illegal, Dangerous and Intoxicating to Deadly. Some will not surprise you, most people know that poison ivy causes a rash, that smoking tobacco can kill you, and that nettles sting. However, did you know that raw cashews can cause the same symptoms as poison ivy? Or that Water Hemlock, one of the most dangerous plants in the US , looks just like a carrot and has a pleasant, sweet taste? This little book is packed full of useful information, fun facts, and interesting historical details. I was fascinated to learn that the Salem Witch Trials were almost certainly caused by a fungus and that Socrates died from drinking a tea made from Poison Hemlock.
The book is beautifully put together. It features 40 intricate and detailed illustrations of plants. A second artist created gruesome and hysterical cartoons showing the consequences of relations with the various naughty plants in the book. Catchy chapter headings like “More Than One Way to Skin a Cat”, concise entries, and fascinating anecdotes make this a fun, easy read. I highly recommend this book for gardeners and nature enthusiasts!
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