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Hidden Natural Histories: Herbs

Behind the pungent aroma of garlic and the cool, palate-cleansing taste of mint in our toothpaste are untold stories of human interactions with the natural world. Celebrating the human heritage of these and other natural phenomena, the new Hidden Natural Histories series offers fascinating insight into the cultivation and use of the bits of nature we take for granted in our daily lives. In Herbs, Kim Hurst concocts a delightful tale of the leafs, seeds, and flowers that for millennia have grown in our gardens, provided savor to our stews, and been used to treat our ailments. Many of herbs’ uses will surprise: rosemary, renowned for its piney flavor, has also been used to protect homes from thieves, aid memory, preserve youth, cure depression, and attract helpful garden elves. Packed with informative and beautiful illustrations—both new and from historical archives—Herbs will charm and enlighten anyone interested in our relationship with the natural world and will be a special delight for every chef, gourmand, gardener . . . or purveyor of garden elves.

224 pages | 150 color plates | 5 1/2 x 7 3/4

Biological Sciences: Botany, Ecology


Hidden Natural Histories: Herbs and Hidden Natural Histories: Trees are two wonderful examples of guides that are both accessible and interesting to the layman and expert alike. Both volumes are extremely user-friendly and visually pleasing, with beautifully detailed illustrations of more than 150 different species of trees and herbs. They contain a variety of information, ranging from botanical descriptions to ethnobotanical lore, including such things as the medicinal, culinary, and spiritual uses of the plants. Detailed germination and growing conditions for each plant are also included. As an added bonus, relevant literary or historical quotes are included for many of the plants described. In Herbs, Hurst brings many of the plants we consider commonplace to life. For example, dandelions, a plant considered to be a pest by many, were actually brought to the New World from the Mediterranean. . . . Both volumes are extremely well organized, and both include an introduction, a brief description about how to use the book, glossaries, a catalog of plants, and an index. . . . Informative and eye-opening. They are highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.”

Lyndsie Robinson | Booklist

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