Trees: From Root to Leaf (Hardcover)
Trees seen like never before—a world expert presents a stunning compendium, illuminating science, conservation, and art.
Trees provoke deep affection, spirituality, and creativity. They cover about a third of the world’s land and play a crucial role in our environmental systems—influencing the water, carbon, and nutrient cycles and the global climate. This puts trees at the forefront of research into mitigating our climate emergency; we cannot understate their importance in shaping our daily lives and our planet’s future.
In these lavish pages, ecologist Paul Smith celebrates all that trees have inspired across nearly every human culture throughout history. Generously illustrated with over 450 images and organized according to tree life cycle—from seeds and leaves to wood, flowers, and fruit—this book celebrates the great diversity and beauty of the 60,000 tree species that inhabit our planet. Surprising photography and infographics will inspire readers, illustrating intricate bark and leaf patterns, intertwined ecosystems, colorful flower displays, archaic wooden wheels, and timber houses. In this lavishly illustrated book, Smith presents the science, art, and culture of trees. As we discover the fundamental and fragile nature of trees and their interdependence, we more deeply understand the forest without losing sight of the magnificent trees.
About the Author
Paul Smith is secretary-general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). BGCI leads the Global Tree Assessment and recently published the “State of the World’s Trees Report” showing that one-third of the world’s tree species are threatened with extinction. Prior to joining BGCI, Smith was head of the Millennium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. He is editor of The Book of Seeds, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
“There are many books published on trees, but none quite like this one. The focus on trees from biological, ecological, and cultural perspectives; the array of diverse examples; and the excellence in design and illustration—all paired with the author’s considerable personal experience—make this book stand out.”—Sir Peter Crane, author of Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
Praise for Smith’s The Book of Seeds
“Handsome and handy. . . . Learn here about achenes like rhubarb seeds, which are dispersed by the wind. Or samaras, like the seeds of the English elm, found in the middle of two transparent green wings.” ― New York Times
"Dendrites, the branched extensions of nerve cells, are named after the Greek dendron, or ‘tree’. 'We think with trees,' says the foreword to this engaging, enchantingly illustrated global study by plant ecologist and conservationist Paul Smith, organized by life cycle into sections from ‘Seeds’ to ‘Fruits’, including art and architecture."
"Trees provides its readers with a copiously illustrated compendium of information arranged and presented in a manner that makes it very accessible to all regardless of their previous familiarity with the subject. . . . If you have an interest in learning more about these remarkable organisms but perhaps don’t know where to begin doing so, Trees is most certainly a book about which you should know. It would also make a lovely gift for most anyone whose interests incline toward natural history."
— Well-Read Naturalist
“There are many books published on trees, but none quite like this one. The focus on trees from biological, ecological, and cultural perspectives; the array of diverse examples; and the excellence in design and illustration—all paired with the author’s considerable personal experience—make this book stand out.”
— Sir Peter Crane, author of Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
"Smith's stunning prose and fabulous illustrations make his book, Trees, an essential volume for both tree lovers and tree professionals. He not only celebrates trees, but also interweaves amazing facts and essential biology about these essential woody denizens of our planet. From seeds to leaves and form, bark, wood, flowers, and fruits, the book is an inspirational journey through the stories of diverse trees, and their impact on humankind. I loved it!"
— Margaret Lowman, Executive Director, TREE Foundation
"In a world that is turning to trees to help solve the climate and biodiversity crises, Paul Smith’s Trees provides all of the ecological knowledge we need to use these essential plants to their greatest effectiveness. A fascinating read from root to leaf!"
— Douglas Tallamy