Seeds: A Natural History

Hardcover | April 5, 2016

byCarolyn Fry

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From the magnificence of a towering redwood to the simple elegance of a tiny dandelion, seed-bearing plants abound on planet Earth. The sheer diversity of plants thriving today is largely thanks to the evolution of the seed, as this made plants resilient to environmental changes by enabling them to await optimum conditions for growth before springing to life. In a time of declining biodiversity, studying seeds is now helping scientists preserve this plant diversity for future generations.

With Seeds, Carolyn Fry offers a celebration of these vital but unassuming packages of life. She begins with a sweeping tour through human history, designed to help us understand why we should appreciate and respect these floral parcels. Wheat, corn, and rice, she reminds us, supply the foundations of meals eaten by people around the world. Countless medicines, oils, clothing materials, and building supplies are available only because of the versatility and variety of seed-bearing plants. Fry then provides a comprehensive history of the evolution of seeds, explaining the myriad ways that they have adapted, survived, and thrived across the globe. Delving deeper into the science of seeds, she reveals the fascinating processes of dormancy, reproduction, germination, and dispersal, and showcases the estimable work conservationists are doing today to gather and bank seeds in order to prevent species from going extinct.

Enriched by a stunning array of full-color images, Seeds offers a comprehensive exploration of some of the most enduring and essential players in the natural world.

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From the magnificence of a towering redwood to the simple elegance of a tiny dandelion, seed-bearing plants abound on planet Earth. The sheer diversity of plants thriving today is largely thanks to the evolution of the seed, as this made plants resilient to environmental changes by enabling them to await optimum conditions for growth b...

Carolyn Fry is a writer and journalist specializing in science, conservation, natural history, and adventure travel. She has written six books on these subjects, including The Plant Hunters, also published by The University of Chicago Press.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.5 × 6.75 × 0.9 inPublished:April 5, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022622435X

ISBN - 13:9780226224350

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"Highly compartmentalized, in that many insets explain specific points with numerous color illustrations. Fry concentrates on broad evolutionary developments and how climate change might impact the future of humanity by reducing biodiversity in the supply of seeds. Historical advances are presented, especially the creation of large scale seed banks around the world. Several graphical charts present human use of seeds through the ages, how plants evolved from algae to angiosperms, seed anatomy, and how seeds are dispersed."