September 22, 2009

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: Review

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There's something wicked lurking in your backyards and gardens. Deadly plants are hiding there waiting to pounce... Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but I'll never look at a field of wildflowers the same way again after reading Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart.

The list of nasty weeds, houseplants, trees, and plants is large. Stewart puts them in alphabetical order, everything from invasive to deadly. Some are super scary like Poison Hemlock and Strychnine Tree. The stuff they can do to a person is ugly. Then there are the ones that are just gross like Stinking Cabbage and Slobber Weed. Yes, Slobber Weed. Don't. Ask. There are the intoxicating which can kill you and the illegal which don't. Even the stuff in your fridge can harm you if not prepared correctly, like Red Kidney Beans.

There are amusing or interesting facts in Wicked Plants as well. The US DEA spends more on disposing of wild "Ditchweed" than it does cultivated Marijuana. Raw cashews will give you a rash. Lincoln's mom was killed by a plant.

The book itself is gorgeous with etchings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs and drawings by Jonathon Rosen. It's fairly short and easy to read. I found it both scary and fascinating. If you can't get enough of Wicked Plants you can see the real things. Stewart includes a list of deadly botanical gardens in the back.

Take a look at Amy Stewart's website and this book trailer for more info.



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13 comments :

  1. That is a GORGEOUS cover!! Drooling over it now.

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  2. Court- Isn't it? It's half the reason I wanted to read it.

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  3. One of my favourite classes in university was called Drug Plants of the World. It sounds like this book could have been the text book for that class! It sounds interesting.

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  4. This is on my nightstand and I'm really anxious to get to it.

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  5. This sounds fascinating! I'm not really into plants, but this sounds dark enough for me to enjoy. ;)

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  6. I think I'd like this book. It would make a good companion read to Weeds in My Garden (all about the nice properties of scorned weeds).

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  7. Sounds very different--I am intrigued.

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  8. Yikes! Just reading this review has given me a rash. There's danger lurking everywhere!

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  9. Lahni- It would fit right in there.

    Kathy- Enjoy!

    Anna- Yes, there are some sinister plants out there.

    Jeane- it's amazing how many houseplants are dangerous. It's not just the weeds.

    Lola- It is quite different.

    Stacy- Oh yeah, I can't look at my yard the same way again.

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  10. This is one gardening book I'm dying to read.

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  11. I'm laughing at the subtitle...Botanical Atrocities. It kinda sounds like our front lawn.

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  12. I know some houseplants could kill my cats if they chewed on them, but outright dangerous? Now you've really got me intrigued. Must read this book.

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  13. not sure this is one I *want* to read, but it sounds very interesting.

    I'm with softdrink on saying "Botanical Atrocities" is my entire yard. I hate gardening.

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