A large-format tour of the plant world, organized into seven “galleries” of related types.
As in companion volume Animalium by Jenny Broom and also illustrated by Scott (2014), the digitally colored images are not drawn to scale but are rendered with as much attention to visual impact as to exact, formal anatomical detail. From one to a dozen or so exquisite examples—most of which, at least for larger species, are isolated fruits, flowers, leaves, or other parts rather than clinically complete specimens—are artistically arranged on each recto, with brief but specific descriptive and environmental notes on the facing page. Aside from the opening gallery of algae, ferns, and other “First Plants,” the sections are presented in no obvious order and range in scope from “Trees” and “Herbaceous Plants” to “Orchids and Bromeliads.” Some sections include spreads on select environments, such as rain forests, and a final catch-up gallery introduces parasitic and carnivorous plants along with a handful of adaptations to particular environmental niches. Willis’ commentary is sometimes technical enough to make a glossary helpful, but there isn’t one.
Not encyclopedic but reasonably systematic: a big, decorative, eye-filling survey. (index, websites) (Nonfiction. 9-12)