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The Nature of Plants: Habitats, Challenges, and Adaptations

By John Dawson and Rob Lucas

Tells dramatic stories of how plants struggle throughout their lives ... and how they change when their surroundings change.

Science News

There has always been interest in how animals live their lives — it is easy for us to identify with them. But there are many remarkable stories about plants that deserve to be told. The Nature of Plants tells how plants adapt to the challenges of their habitats. Plants may live in places that provide too little rainfall, yet they thrive, either by evading drought, like the animals that live in deserts, or by tolerating the scarcity. There are plants that use other plants, climbing on them, strangling some, living in their leafy canopies, or parasitizing them. And The Nature of Plants explores the love-hate relationships that plants have with animals, some feeding on plants but others drawn into serving plants by pollinating them, scattering their fruits and seeds, or being eaten themselves. The mostly hidden associations that plants have with bacteria and fungi are also revealed. Illustrated throughout with superb color photographs, it is written in a way that is clear to anyone who wishes to understand the life of plants.

Media reviews

"Tells dramatic stories of how plants struggle throughout their lives, how they adapt to their often-inhospitable surroundings, and how they change when their surroundings change."

Science News

"Intelligent and knowledgeable prose. ... The writing is informative and will open up the eyes of those determined to grow plants well, in a setting most suited for the genus or species, and where they will have room ... to set seed and spread."

TheBookPlace.co.uk

"Explores the love-hate relationships that plants have with animals, some feeding on plants but others drawn into serving plants by pollinating them, scattering their fruits and seeds, or being eaten themselves."

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

"The book, studded with stunning photographs, is divided into nine botanically based but very readable chapters."

—Lynne Terry, Oregonian

"A plant lover's dream. ... Recommended for anyone with an interest in plants and their ability to survive in even the harshest of climates. All topics are explained with diverse examples and fantastic color photographs."

—Lee Luckeydoo, Sida, Contributions to Botany

"This is a beautifully written and illustrated book. Many of the photographs of plants and their habitats are simply magnificent ... It should fan enthusiasm for the world's plants and for conservation of them and their habitats."

—Dr. Peter Myerscough, National Parks Association of New South Wales, Australia

About the authors

John Dawson

Although officially retired from Victoria University in Wellington, John Dawson continues to study plants in New Zealand and abroad. He received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and has written Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants in addition to many other botanical contributions.

Read more about John Dawson

Rob Lucas

Rob Lucas is a lecturer in the Natural Resources Centre of the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and is the author of the horticultural identification guide, What's That Pest?. Together with John Dawson, Rob has written and photographed Lifestyles of New Zealand Forest Plants: New Zealand Coast & Mountain Plants, which was awarded the Natural Heritage Prize; and Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest.

Read more about Rob Lucas

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