Winter 2008 Roundup: Coffee-Table Books
Extraordinary Leaves, photographs by Stephen Green-Armytage, text by Dennis Schrader
These striking photos of foliage are grouped mostly according to prominent features of the leaves: color (who would have expected that black leaf cotton [Gossypium herbaceum “nigra”] would be the standout in this section?), pattern (check out the “Boston cherries ‘n chocolate” begonia, Begonia rex), edges (think thistles), texture (lustrous, puckered, or hairy—like the stunning silvery clary sage, Salvia argentia), shape (I like the fishtail palm, Caryota mitis), size (the night-blooming giant waterlily Victoria amazonica can grow to an amazing 2.7 meters in diameter) and climbing patterns (the creeping fig, Ficus pumila, is especially lovely). But caladiums get their own chapter, as do kale, ferns, coleus (the “tilt-a-whirl” variety is shown here) and vines.
From the text of Extraordinary Leaves (Firefly, 2008, $45), one chiefly learns such odds and ends as that cotton is a close relation to hibiscus, coleus is in the mint family, and Thailand is the new hotspot for caladium breeding. But there is also this startling (to me) recipe for growing moss: Put some fresh moss in a blender with buttermilk, beer or yogurt, add potter’s clay, and puree. Then spread the mixture where you want moss to grow and keep shaded and well misted.—Flora Taylor
Connect With Us:
A free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.
An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns,
and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.
News of book reviews published in
and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
To sign up for automatic emails of the
Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an
online profile, then sign up in the
My AmSci area.