The Nature of Plants: An Introduction to How Plants Work |
Plants play a critical role in how we experience our environment. They create calming green spaces, provide oxygen for us to breathe, and nourish our senses. In The Nature of Plants, ecologist and nursery owner Craig Huegel demystifies the complex lives of plants and provides readers with an elucidating journey into their inner and outer workings. Beginning with the importance of light, water, and soil, Huegel describes photosynthesis, plant circadian rhythms, and how best to position plants to receive optimal sunlight. He explains choosing artificial lights for landscaping, giving lucky bamboo its twisted shape, and tricking flowers like poinsettias to bloom at a specific time of year. He reveals how plants use water, what paths it takes to move nutrients and fuel growth, and why too much--or too little--can hurt. He also explains what essential elements plants need to flourish and what friendly bacteria, fungi, and insects help make a healthy soil. Sections on plant structure and reproduction focus in detail on major plant organs--roots, stems, and leaves--and cover flowering, pollination, fruit development, and seed germination. The intricacies behind how plants reproduce are unraveled, including why not all flowering plants need pollinators, how it can take decades for some plants to produce offspring, and whether parents recognize their kin. Huegel even delves into the mysterious world of plant communication, exploring the messages and warnings conveyed to animals or other plants through chemical scents and hormones. With color illustrations, photographs, and real-life examples from his own gardening experiences, Huegel equips budding botanists, ecologists, and even the most novice gardeners with knowledge that will help them understand and foster plants of all types.