Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia. Ed. by Christopher Cumo. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2013. 3 vols. acid free $294 (ISBN: 978-1-59884-774-1). E-book available (978-1-59884-775-8), call for pricing.

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia is an interdisciplinary exploration of the various relationships between plants and people that have arisen over the course of human history. As civilizations discovered desirable properties of their local flora, they developed techniques to improve these properties in successive generations of the plants while increasing and controlling the products yielded at harvest. Aesthetic, culinary, and medicinal properties of plants have also made them a focus of art, literature, and music.

Cultivated varieties, including crops grown for food, ornamental plants cultivated for aesthetic qualities, and trees harvested for timber, are listed by common name. A few entries are cross-listed when there is some variation in the common name, and the index provides additional coverage. Entries typically describe the botanical features of the plant, its history as a cultivar, the specific attributes of the plant that affect how and why it is grown and used, and its vulnerability to disease and pests. The entries vary considerably in focus: for example, "tobacco" describes the plant's interaction with human health and the world economy, while "rosebush" focuses on the symbolism roses have had for different cultures. This is a merit for an interdisciplinary work because it allows the reader to understand the most distinctive characteristics of a given plant, which may emanate from the study of botany, anthropology, culinary arts, medicine, and even economics. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.