The true story—and true glories—of the plants we love to hate
From dandelions to crabgrass, stinging nettles to poison ivy, weeds are familiar, pervasive, widely despised, and seemingly invincible. How did they come to be the villains of the natural world? And why can the same plant be considered beautiful in some places but be deemed a menace in others?
In Weeds, renowned nature writer Richard Mabey embarks on an engaging journey with the verve and historical breadth of Michael Pollan. Weaving together the insights of botanists, gardeners, artists, and writers with his own travels and lifelong fascination, Mabey shows how these "botanical thugs" can destroy ecosystems but also can restore war zones and derelict cities; he reveals how weeds have been portrayed, from the "thorns and thistles" of Genesis to Shakespeare, Walden, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and he explains how kudzu overtook the American South, how poppies sprang up in First World War battlefields, and how "American weed" replaced the forests of Vietnam ravaged by Agent Orange.
Hailed as "a profound and sympathetic meditation on weeds in relation to human beings" (Sunday Times), Weeds shows how useful these unloved plants can be, from serving as the first crops and medicines, to bur-dock inspiring the invention of Velcro, to cow parsley becoming the latest fashionable wedding adornment. Mabey argues that we have caused plants to become weeds through our reckless treatment of the earth, and he delivers a provocative defense of the plants we love to hate.
The book is a very interesting read, forcing one to look at all sides of the concept of `weed'.
A stimulating sojourn with the world's most fascinating and ingenious plants, this is a book which all but demands an Internet connection while reading.
I was not expecting or wanting so much weed history and sociology, nor was I expecting the book to be so bloody British-centric.
I love this book!!! Beautifully written, lyrical, poetic, funny, delightful in every way. For EVERYONE who loves nature and gardening. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elaine Creaden
Interesting. Most weeds not common in US but still interesting. Lots of history and use in art.Published 3 months ago by judith houser
It was allright for being more focused on English "weeds" rather than here in USA. Mabey pointed out some interesting history of plant migration and evolution. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kathy Cridge
It's a fun read but this is based upon experiences in England, however since weeds have been spread so universally by us it covers ones here in the US too. Read morePublished 11 months ago by C Terry
I really liked this book, so much so that I found myself talking about it at a party. For me, that is a serious compliment. Read morePublished 11 months ago by C. Grant
I am and have always been a fan of "weeds". I have studied herbalism, and and have used so called "weeds" and herbs for many things over the years. Read morePublished 11 months ago by K.Wagner
...with an underlying warning for contemporary chemical farming. It would have been nice to see more illustrations of the plants mentioned herein.Published 11 months ago by wanda