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We buy more flowers a year than we do Big Macs, spending $6. 2 billion annually. We use them to mark our most important events, to express sentiments that might otherwise go unsaid. And we demand perfection. So it's no surprise that there is a $40 billion global industry devoted to making flowers flawless. Amy Stewart takes us inside the flower trade-from the hybridizers, who create new varieties in the laboratory, to the growers, who produce flowers by the millions (often in a factory-like setting), to the Dutch auctioneers, who set the bar (and the price), and ultimately to the neighborhood florists orchestrating the mind-boggling demands of Valentine's and Mother's Day. There's the breeder intent on developing the first blue rose; an eccentric horticultural legend who created the world's most popular lily; a grower of gerberas of every color imaginable; and the equivalent of a Tiffany diamond: the " Forever Young" rose. Stewart explores the relevance of flowers in our lives and in our history, and in the process she reveals all that has been gained-and lost-by tinkering with nature.
This humorous and informative small volume on scary bugs examines some of the world's most odd, frightening and unique insects. Creepy crawlers discussed include African bat bugs, stinging caterpillars, Brazilian wandering spiders, oriental rat fleas and the death-watch beetles. Each entry includes a descriptive narrative as well as information on size, classification, habitat, and distribution, organized under such headings as "Painful," "Horrible" and "Dangerous. " Stewart is the bestselling author of Wicked Plants and Flower Confidential. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
[From back cover] Beware! The Sordid Lives of Plants Behaving Badly. A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. Amy Stewart, bestselling author of Flower Confidential, takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature's most appalling creations in an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. Menacing botanical illustrations render a ghastly portrait of evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, enlighten, and alarm even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.
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