News 2012 May

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Bertrand Le grand livre des ressources végétales 2012.jpg

Bertrand, Bernard, 2012. Le grand livre des ressources végétales. Comment se passer du pétrole grâce aux plantes. Photographies de Yannick Fourié. Toulouse, Plume de Carotte, 188 p. (in French).

Once again, the publisher Plume de Carotte releases a beautiful book about plants, of the kind you can offer as a gift to non-botanists. This time, it deals with plants which give (or used to give) objects of our current life, and the origin of which we generally ignore. For once, we don't hear about food, medicinal or ornamental plants, but instead dye plants, fibre plants, rubber and many kinds of wood.

Be careful, if you browse the book, you will fall in love with the photos. The publisher could have access to the objects conserved at the Botanic Garden at Kew, in the economic botany collection, which is certainly the best ethnobotanical collection worldwide. Full page photos are splendid, they alone justify buying the book.

We will of course regret some gaps (broom sorghum, oak tan, agaves…), and above all a too short list of references. But as it is, this book fills a big gap. In the current flood of plant books, it is very rare to see this issue addressed. We need to go back to the 1950's to find documentation, because the domination of petroleum derivatives was so broad that knowledge about such plants has been forgotten in Western countries. Yet everybody has at home a coir doormat, rattan furniture or a sorghum broom!

See publisher's site

Michel Chauvet
26 April 2012