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:
An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, and more. Issues contain links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.
JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.
The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.
View the full collection here.