Tuesday, February 26, 2013

10 Plants that Shook the World

by Gillian Richardson

Is it just me or does everyone perk up at titles like this?  Books about the longest feuds of all time, the top inventions, the weirdest animals, the greatest speeches, anything with a list intrigues me.

My favorite classes in college were my botany classes so when I was this book dealing with plants I requested it from NetGalley.  I couldn't wait to read what the 10 plants were that shook the world and discover what criterion the author used to wheedle the list down to ten.  The introduction didn't really discuss why some were chosen over others.  This book is aimed at children age 10 and above, so that may explain why poppies, marijuana, or hops didn't make the list.  I guess the claim isn't that these are the top 10 plants to shake the world - only that these 10 did have a big influence on the vast populations of the entire world, not just a region or country.

That said, here's the list:  tea, sugarcane, corn, potatoes, cacao, pepper, cotton, rubber, chinchona (quinine bark), and papyrus.

This is the type of book that I love to buy and set out on an end table for the grandkids to pick up and read a bit here and there.  I want them to be exposed to a lot of different interests to broaden their horizons.  I learned some fascinating tidbits of this book and recommend it.

Have you ever heard of Fordlandia?  It was Henry Ford's dream to build a megacity and rubber plantation on the amazon.  When you think of potatoes, don't you think of Ireland and Idaho?  Potatoes came to Europe in 1570 from Peru.

These plants have brought about ease, comfort, improvements in life style, health and taste but there stories are often filled with greed and dishonesty by governments and businesses.


Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This sounds just fun. I love books that you can just pick up and read bits and learn something.

Zibilee said...

This sounds like something that I would love, and reminds me a little of a book that I read several years ago about some of the same things. I would love to read this one, and I am glad that you enjoyed it!

Susan said...

Yes, another book to my list! This is one I think I've seen in a bookstore recently. I'm curious too, and a gardener, so sooner or later this would appeal to me. Your lovely review makes it much sooner than later!

Amanda Planta said...

add one more plant that is changing the world. The TickleMe Plant will change the way you look at plants forever!
The leaves fold and even the branches droop. This is real!