Richard Evans Schultes

“This collection of 36 articles (most of them written specifically for this book) presents a truly global perspective on the theory and practice of today’s ethnobotany as a way of understanding past human history as well as the future. Considering the impact of plant use throughout history in the human social structures of economics, politics, religion and science, this book contributes immeasurably to one’s understanding of human history and the world today. The diminishing rain forests may well hold unknown keys to conquering devastating new diseases, and peoples native to those regions can often lead the way with their herbal knowledge. Experimentation with as-yet-unstudied plants may provide new solutions to expand food and energy reserves for our overpopulated planet. From tropical forest conservation to basketry made from cured stems of grass as well as a huge list of psychoactive plants and their uses, this book covers it all.”

Publisher: Timber
Hardback: 414 pages

Carnivorous Plants of the World

James and Patricia Pietropaolo

A complex and well-presented book on carnivorous plants from around the world and how to propagate, cultivate and care for them.
This book reflects 25 years experience and knowledge-gathering by the authors and includes data on the history, native environment and different trapping devices of the many species discussed in this book. The first part of this book deals with the various types or genera and is grouped by their means of entrapment:
• Dionaea, or Venus Flytrap (traps insects by quickly snapping shut)
• Pitcher plants (traps insects in hollow tube of the leaf)
• Sundew types (covered with sticky hairs to trap insects)
• Butterworts (sticky leaves trap insects)
• Bladderworts (trap door shuts trapping prey, some aquatic)
Later chapters continue with cultivation, pests and diseases, propagation and hybridization. Many color photos and black-and-white drawings of these otherworldly-looking plants and their flowers.
Carnivorous plants are some 136 million years old. The origins of carnivorous plants is not certain, but it is believed that shallow depressions formed in the leaves, trapping rain and insects. The plants benefited from the decomposing insects and the nutrients were absorbed through leaves. Later they developed more elaborate traps to help the plant survive in nutrient-poor soil. Which brings us to the question, what exactly is plant carnivorousness? What characteristics must a plant have to be considered carnivorous? “When this definition is applied, it evokes visions of snarling green jaws snapping at nearby animal life, not so.” Basically it has to attract prey (with odors, colors, etc.), trap prey, secrete digestive enzymes and absorb digested material, and there you have it. DW

Publisher: Timber
Paperback: 206 pages

The Healing Forest

Robert F. Raffauf

This enormous work represents nearly half a century of field research in the Northwest Amazon encompassing parts of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. While the Northwest region represents only a small part of the entire Amazonian drainage area, it is in many respects the most complex and varied part of the forest; it has also been the least studied. The authors, with backgrounds in ethnobotany and phytochemistry, have included and described nearly 1,500 species and variants, representing 596 genera in 145 plant families. Of these, half have had little or no real investigation of their chemical and pharmacological properties. The Amazon represents a storehouse of as much as 16 percent of the plant species existing on Earth today. The native peoples of the area have retained their knowledge of the medicines and poisons derived from this diverse flora. The authors emphasize the importance of ethnobotanical conservation, and call attention to the fact that from these plants might come new chemical compounds of value to modern medicine and industry. It is their hope that this work will not only alert future generations of phytochemists to the potential of the Amazon as a source of new medicinal, toxic or other useful compounds, but in so doing will also assist in the conservation of the folklore record of the Indian peoples in this richly endowed region, which is so important to the welfare of mankind. DW

Publisher: Timber
Hardback: 484 pages