5 votes

Excerpts from the Atlas of Poetic Botany

1 comment

  1. monarda
    This book is on my Christmas wish list.

    This book is on my Christmas wish list.

    The French botanist and biologist Francis Hallé has spent 40 years in pursuit of the strange and beautiful plant specimens of the rainforest. In his Atlas of Poetic Botany, excerpted below, he invites readers to tour the farthest reaches of the rainforest in search of exotic – and poetic – plant life.

    Like any good tour guide, Hallé tells stories to illustrate his facts. Readers learn about, among other things, Queen Victoria’s rubber tree; legends of the moabi tree (for example, that powder from the bark confers invisibility); a flower that absorbs energy from a tree; plants that imitate other plants; a tree that rains; and a fern that clones itself.

    Hallé’s Atlas aims to show that “the equatorial forest isn’t the ‘green inferno’ that colonialists and adventurers have so often confronted,” as he writes in the book’s introduction, but “a universe with magical allure.” His drawings represent an investment in time that returns a dividend of wonder more satisfying than the ephemeral thrill afforded by the photograph.

    1 vote