From the Publisher
Truly original and unique, Leaves is the visionary life work of Alice Thoms Vitale who has devoted almost thirty years to researching and creating authentic portraits of living leaves. This historical herbal is an appreciative salute to the wonder, beauty, and utility of leaves, as well as a visual guide to their identity. Throughout recorded history, leaves have graced and scented gardens, homes, and altars, provided nourishment and drink, healed the sick, enriched the flavor of food, added color to fabrics, and been the source for powerful poisons and exhilarating but sometimes harmful drugs. From ancient sources - Biblical, Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Oriental - to more modern cultures - European, Native American, and North American, here are the distant voices of folk-healers, herbalists, and physicians mingled with superstitions, irrational beliefs, myths, medicines, recipes, and poetry. Included are over 110 specimens, all grown in American soil, illuminated with fascinating information in botany, horticulture, medicine, history, literature, food, folklore, and handicraft.