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Kingdom of Plants: A Journey Through Their Evolution Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012

5 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007463332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007463336
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.5 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘In a text that couples strong narrative with the latest scientific insights, Will Benson has produced an engrossing account of the evolution of plant life and its importance to our planet’s past, present and future. He takes us on a beautifully illustrated, three-billion-year journey […]. The companion to Sir David Attenborough’s new TV series on plants demands to be read.’
BBC Wildlife

‘A vast story, succinctly, yet compellingly written and a treat for nature and plant lovers.’
Gardens Illustrated

About the Author

Will Benson is a science researcher who has worked alongside leading academics in the production of television documentaries for major broadcasters around the world, including most recently the landmark series Kingdom of Plants 3D: With David Attenborough. An early interest in plants led him to work as a horticulturist, after which he went on to study for a BSc in Zoology at the University of Southampton. Will has led and participated in a number of biological research expeditions, working both independently and with NGOs in Nicaragua, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have waited a while for a book like this to be written - to do for plants what Attenborough and Dawkins usually do for the animal kingdom. (Attenborough is involved with the TV series which this book accompanies.) As you would expect, this book is highly accessible and packed with lavish photos on glossy pages. The communication is crystal clear - a lot of information without reams of prosaic print - this book kept me gripped for the four days I took to read it!

Benson charts the major structural changes in plants, from the first oceanic photosynthesizing ancestors (well before fish existed) to the plants we know today. He takes the reader on a journey, relating the evolution of plants to physical environments, which caused adaptions in plants and which in turn were changed by the existence of plants.

A holistic approach is adopted throughout the book: Benson makes frequent reference to the symbiont relationships - co-evolution of pollinators - within the web of life, as well as less harmonious relationships. His zoology degree and research expeditions seem to give him plenty of new material with which to illustrate plant life's grandeur.

The section on extreme survival is especially good. It's main focus is arid environments, outlining the evolution of the (structurally bizarre) cacti in a chapter length case study, which I thought was necessary to really do it justice.

A short chapter is devoted to how fungi relate to plants. Although some readers may object that fungi have a kingdom of their own, I find it's inclusion well justified: Without fungi lands plants (and animals) would not exist, the 'how?' and the 'why?' are simply intriguing.

Despite latter pages reading like an advert for Kew Gardens, Benson has written a phenomenally good book; nobody with a shred of interest in life on Earth will fail to be entertained, educated and astounded!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who has an interest in plants and more especially for those who want to understand the relationships between the plant families as a result of their evolution. Not for the expert, but for anyone starting out on the journey of discovering the fascinating world of all plants on our lovely green planet.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains much of interest to people who care about plants including a chapter on fungi. It should appeal to those who wish to increase their knowledge of the most important living things on our planet without which there would be no food to eat or oxygen to breathe. Even as a botanist I found much information that was new to me. It is an excellent book to accompany David Attenborough's Kingdom of Plants 3D.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book with a little trepidation, as I am not interested (I'm afraid) in botany, as such, but in evolution and how things inter-react in nature. My worry was that it would just use a few pages for a gloss on evolution, with the rest of the book being nothing more than a "Gardeners' Question Time Book for Christmas".

No fear - it turned out to be the 3rd fascinating book I have read in succession recently. The first chapter deals with the majority of the evolutionary aspects, a high level overview with relatively little depth, but certainly more than gloss. I have no issue with that, as I read other books which provide more detail.

The remaining chapters really concentrate on the inter-relationships between plants and their environment, such as defence and predatory mechanisms, use of other animals in spreading their seeds and pollen, uses in medicine and waste cleanup (fungi chapter, really interesting), survival in challenging climates, their value to the human race and the importance to us of preserving diversity, and much more.

Just a couple of chapter headings to partly illustrate the scope:

"How Plants Have Shaped the World"

"Plant Communication"

"The Power of Fungi", and

"No Plants, No Humans"

A truly comprehensive and fascinating foray into the place of plants in our world. (Oh and terrific photographs)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful Book.
Only 1 chapter into it, but very interesting & well-written.
There is a beautiful picture literally on almost every double page. Offers lots of refreshment from the text, and complement what is being said well.
I bought this for £5, & I honestly can not believe my luck
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