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Weeds: How vagabond plants gatecrashed civilisation and changed the way we think about nature

Weeds: How vagabond plants gatecrashed civilisation and changed the way we think about nature

Richard Mabey

This is a lively and lyrical cultural history of plants in the wrong place by one of Britain's best and most admired nature writers. Ever since the first human settlements 10,000 years ago, weeds have dogged our footsteps. They are there as the punishment of 'thorns and thistles' in "Genesis" and, two millennia later, as a symbol of "Flanders Field". They are civilisations' familiars, invading farmland and building-sites, war-zones and flower-beds across the globe. Yet living so intimately with us, they have been a blessing too. Weeds were the first crops, the first medicines. Burdock was the inspiration for Velcro. Cow parsley has become the fashionable adornment of Spring weddings. Weaving together the insights of botanists, gardeners, artists and poets with his own life-long fascination, Richard Mabey examines how we have tried to define them, explain their persistence, and draw moral lessons from them. One persons weed is another's wild beauty.

"Mabey offers a diversity and richness of fact, fiction, philosophy and fun ... a great read."

 - Professor Stephen Hopper, Director, Kew Gardens

228 pages.

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