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In Praise of Plants

By Francis Hallé

Illustrations by Francis Hallé

Translated and with a foreword by David Lee

This fascinating, astonishing book ought to be required reading.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

What do we know about plants, really? Through a rich array of examples, many illustrated in the author's elegant and distinctive style, this book offers a new look at botany. This scholarly yet fun book examines the qualities that make plants unique, so different from animals. Experienced in both the academic and in-the-field sides of science, the opinionated Hallé delightfully makes the case that plants differ so profoundly from animals that questions are raised about the meaning of individuality and the nature of life and death.

Media reviews

"This treatise on plants does provide many opportunities to explore the unique nature of plants."

—Roy L. Taylor, Pacific Horticulture

"In Praise of Plants is a detailed discussion of the nature of the plant kingdom and does indeed praise plants for their unique and necessary place on earth."

American Rhododendron Society Journal

"Relates decisively how plants must be perceived as Earth's life-support system."

—P. Barry Tomlinson, Plant Talk

"Rather than controversial, I see the book as unconventional, providing a refreshing view of plants and their place in the biological world ... I would recommend this volume for anyone seeking a fresh perspective on plants and the unique way in which they differ from other organisms."

—Terry Webster, New Biological Books

"This fascinating, astonishing book ought to be required reading for all high school students."

—Ann Lovejoy, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"A unique, informative and 'reader friendly' study of the human bias that can readily interfere with our scientific and emotional understanding of plants."

Wisconsin Bookwatch

"[A] passionate appreciation of the uniqueness of plants ... Entertaining and informative."

—P. Barry Tomlinson, Plant Talk

"You may not always agree with the author, but it is a fascinating book."

—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger

"Scholarly yet fun book."


"This book is laced with humor and amply illustrated in the author's lively style ... you might see the world through fresh eyes."

—Jimmy Grogan, Tropinet

"Entertaining and thought–provoking ... skillfully translated ... abundantly illustrated ... I would recommend this volume for anyone seeking a fresh perspective on plants and the unique way in which they differ from other organisms."

—Terry R. Webster, Quarterly Review of Biology

"One of the most thought-provoking books encountered in a long time."

—Ann Milovsoroff, Pappus

"I would not hesitate to recommend this book to colleagues as an interesting and certainly entertaining book. Aside from the humor, the poetry, and the eloquent quotes, there is a lot of fodder for thought here for any botanist."

—Catherine Kleier, Plant Science Bulletin

"Readers will have their understanding of plants fundamentally altered, and their appreciation immeasurably enhanced."


"This fascinating and important book has been most sensitively translated to bring it, at last, to the wider audience it deserves. The book is a modern classic that wonderfully combines plant science with opinions, by one of its leading practitioners. I know that it will inspire future generations to develop the close relationship to plants that is so apparent in Francis Hallé."

—Sir Ghillean Prance, National Tropical Botanical Garden

About the author

Francis Hallé

Francis Hallé is a professor of botany at the University of Montpellier, France. A previous book, Tropical Trees and Forests: an Architectural Analysis (1978), coauthored with Roelof Oldeman and Barry Tomlinson, is one of the most frequently consulted in tropical botany. Professor Hallé is a pioneer in exploring life in the treetops of tropical forests, using a blimp-borne inflatable raft that rests on the tops of the trees of the canopy. "The rainforest canopy is still a largely undiscovered layer of the planet. Francis Hallé's pioneering treetop expeditions are carrying out vital research into what makes the world's rainforests tick" (Gil Gillespie, Frontiers, 1998).

Read more about Francis Hallé

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This book is print-on-demand

It cannot be ordered from TimberPress.com. However, you can buy it from other online retailers: