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Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran

By Lytton John Musselman

Foreword by Garrison Keillor

A readable and relevant book for our times.

Pacific Horticulture

This book celebrates the plants of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Quran. From acacia, the wood of the tabernacle, to wormwood, whose bitter leaves, as absinthe, flavor alcoholic drinks, 81 chapters cover the more than 100 plants in the holy texts that have true botanical counterparts. Fascinating stories of the fruits, grains, grasses, trees, flowers, and fragrances include botanical characteristics, habitat, uses, and literary context. Richly illustrated with extensive color, this delightful ecumenical botany offers the welcome tonic of a deep look into an enduring, shared natural heritage.

Media reviews

"A readable and relevant book for our times. For those gardening with the plants of the Mediterranean, the book will be a treasured resource."

—Katherine Greenberg, Pacific Horticulture

"The enormous task of examining the diverse and sometimes speculative side of religious ethnobotany is well executed here. ... Appears to be the only work published to date to include both the Bible and the Quran."

—Tracy Mohaidheen, Library Journal

"Equally of interest for religious, historical, or horticultural reasons."

—Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune

"This is a fun one. I'm always interested in plants that have literary and historic connections."

—Elizabeth Licata, Garden Rant

"A promising title to try. ... A thorough, ethno-botanical tome."

Hobby Farms Magazine

"An authoritative — but accessible — look at not only the plants of the Bible (including the Apocrypha), but also the Quran. ... [An] interesting and worthwhile book. ... I highly recommend it."

—Judy Lowe, Christian Science Monitor

"Musselman's fascinating work includes not only the stories of ancient plants but also botanical characteristics, native environment, uses, and literary context. If you are looking for a serious approach to the subject of plants of the Bible, then this is the book."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"There's a forward from Garrison Keillor, who, like most of us, (and in spite of a strict Christian upbringing) had no idea what myrrh or frankincense actually were. Well, now he does, and you will too."

Buffalo Spree

About the author

Lytton John Musselman

Plants fascinate Lytton John Musselman. He has studied Bible plants for three decades, has published several books on their identification, symbolism, and use in the holy writings, and has lived and worked in several Middle Eastern countries.

Read more about Lytton John Musselman

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