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Flora Britannica [Hardcover]

Richard Mabey
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: £40.02
Price: £32.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 1996
Covering the native and naturalized wild plants of England, Scotland and Wales, this reference guide to plants and flowers contains over 500 colour images.

Frequently Bought Together

Flora Britannica + Birds Britannica + Bugs Britannica
Price For All Three: £76.99

Buy the selected items together
  • Birds Britannica £28.00
  • Bugs Britannica £16.99

Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus / Sinclair Stevenson; 1st edition (7 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856193772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856193771
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 3.6 x 28.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Richard Mabey is a naturalist and award-winning author and journalist. He won wide acclaim on the publication of the original Food for Free in 1972 - which has never been out of print since - and again with the publication of the colour edition in 1989. Among his many other acclaimed publications are Gilbert White (Whitbread Biography of the Year) and the ground-breaking bestseller Flora Britannica, which won the British Book Awards' Illustrated Book of the Year and the Botanical Society of the British Isles' President's Award and was runner-up for the BP Natural World Book Prize. He collaborated with Mark Cocker on Birds Britannica, and his book Nature Cure, described as 'a brilliant, candid and heartfelt memoir', was shortlisted for four prestigious prizes: the Whitbread Biography, the J.R. Ackerley for autobiography, Mind (for its investigation into depression) and the Ondaatje for the evocation of the spirit of place. He is an active member of national and local conservation groups and lives in Norfolk.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Root and Branch 13 Oct 2008
I recall hearing Richard Mabey discussing this book on a radio show, before it was published and thinking its premise: collecting contibutors' personal experiences of British plant life, seemed rather uninspired. Surely this kind of thing has been done to death? Nature magazine columns have been filled for years with people writing accounts of things they have seen in the British countryside.

When it was published, I was further put off by the high price of the book.

I was completely wrong on both counts, the price, when the size, scope and quality of the book are considered, seems more than reasonable. As to the premise of the work, Richard Mabey, a genius writer in my opinion, pulls all the various accounts from amateur contributors together into a cohesive and coherent whole, that manages to maintain the same well mannered and good humoured tone throughout its long length.

It is possible to read the book piecemeal, picking out species that interest you specially , but I feel reading it from cover to cover best allows the reader to appreciate what the author has achieved.

This is not an identification guide, although the photographs are of top quality, and the amount of space devoted to each species varies wildly, but the "Flora" succeeds in its aim to be a folk history rather than purely a Natural History work.

Beware of books that may seem to continue this work, e.g."Fauna Britannica", which do not, in fact, have much in common with this fine volume.
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143 of 151 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Once, even the most illiterate British home possessed a few books. Not just the obvious culprits like the bible or a world atlas, but the less recognised publications too, like the AA's UK Road Guide, Home-brewing for Beginners and, favourite of all, the Reader's Digest Guide to British Wildlife and Plants. The Reader's Digest guides don't seem to be around anymore, but never mind, because 'Flora Britannica' deserves to take its place in all our lives. It's richly-coloured photographs detail the flowers, plants and even weeds of the UK. Their stories, place in history, medicinal uses, recipes - even their appearance in nursery rhymes, they're all covered between the pages of this glorious book. Thousands of people all over the UK contributed to this book, and it shows. Every page feels like Mabey's labour of love. Apparently it took five years to put together and was a decade in the planning. I can believe it too. Buy the hardback, treat it like an old friend, pass it on to your children. 'Flora Britannica' is destined to be the an heirloom for the 21st century.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Distillation of country lore 30 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This is a high quality books - with good photographs and decent length entries on the wild flowers, herbs and trees you'll know if you have grown up in the country.
The marvellous bit about it is the way the author has drawn from contributors all over the country who have passed on their local names, stories and memories about common British plants. A real storehouse to be read and enjoyed on those windy and wet days when you can't go out and look for yourself. Many people's memories are from childhood, a reminder that we often really get to know the plants and animals around us in our early years. So it is a book to keep and hand on.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book overall 4 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This is a very good encyclopedia, with a lot of information about the history and uses of the various plants found in Britain. My only criticism is that the pictures show the plants in their natural habitat rather than close up. This means it is sometimes difficult to identify the plant from the picture. After saying that, this book is not a hady field guide that you would carry round anyway. It being 400+ pages.
As a home fererence work, I can reccomend it, and I have spent ages browsing through it's pages discovering interesting things about the plants that are all arround us.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and scholarly book 26 Jan 2011
By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER
Flora Britannica is a book about the role of plants in human life, past and present. It is descriptive, discursive, witty and heart-warming. It is not an ID guide, oh no, not at all.

Mabey assembles folklore, ecology, poetry and anecdotes from a huge number of contributors, making this a unique sourcebook for anyone interested in our relationship with wild plants. Proper indexing makes it easy to find not just plants but associations - for example, there are index references to "Wind in the Willows", the Great Fire of London and Midsummer Day. There is even an appendix giving plants' common names in Gaelic and the Scots and Shetland norse dialects (though not, inexplicably, Welsh). An extensive bibliography is augmented by a list of contributors; another index links locations to photographs.

Mabey has taken great pains to make this a useful, as well as an enjoyable book. It is huge, and you'd dip into it rather than reading it cover-to-cover. Use it throughout the year, reading up on plants you have seen or might like to go in search of. For something lighter and more delicious, try the book's forerunner The Flowering of Britain, which is magical and inspiring, as well as being a racy and engaging read. A book on the folklore of plants which complements this book is The Englishman's Flora (Helicon reference classics) by Geoffrey Grigson
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book, well worth the money and in very good condition
Published 2 months ago by Sally D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Flora for everyone
If you ever wanted the name of a flower but cannot find it this is the book for you. our 97 year old grandmother who was a primary school teacher who specialized in the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Christine Makin
5.0 out of 5 stars Ranger's delight
My Countryside Ranger son had been wanting this book for ages but it is expensive, so I bought him a second-hand copy from Amazon and he is delighted. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Natalia
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating
Whether to dip into now and then or sit down and read, this large reference book is endlessly interesting, with little stories and titbits about a huge range of subjects, garnered... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. J. R. Slatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Well illustrated and contains thorough, in depth information about plants of Britain and their links to British life and culture..
Published 9 months ago by Mrs Sylvia Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book
I was shown this by a friend last May, bought it for my husband's birthday, then bought another for my brother for Christmas. Everyone loves it, including me! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Molly Malone
5.0 out of 5 stars flowering splendour
You might be put off by the title _ DON'T BE! I received this book this morning, and it is BRILLIANT! Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. Colin Eley
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'tome' that one gets absorbed in rather than turning to an Amazon...
I have bought several' Wild Flower' books of late to identify wild flowers prolifically abundant in a specific habitat that is different from my childhood haunts where my father... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Penny B
5.0 out of 5 stars Mabey & Grigson
As I had read earlier books by him, I bought Richard Mabey's Flora on publication. In many ways it is a sequel to Geoffrey Grigson's The Englishman's Flora The Englishman'S Flora. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Alan Tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a present
I purchased this book as a present, the reciprient was thrilled as they had already two in this series. Well illustrated and worth a read.
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by Mrs. M. J. Courtman
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