The Incredible Journey of Plants, by Stefano Mancuso, translated from Italian by Gregory Conti and illustrated by Grisha Fischer, is an incredible book.
First, it is a visual treat with the most amazing watercolors that depict maps as a plants. My favorite shows the continents as leaves, but they are all whimsical and delicate and soothing.
The prose is elegant and poetic and pithy--hats off to both the author and translator for this.
Mancuso explores the pioneers and veterans of the plant world, including survivors of both Chernobyl and Hiroshima, as well as fugitives and conquerors and voyageurs, describing how plants propagate by land, sea, and the digestive tracts of animals. He talks about the oldest trees in the world, the time travelers, and the solitary trees.
Every living species is part of a network of relationships about which we know very little. Therefore, every living organism must be protected. Life is a rare commodity in the universe.
My sister lent this book to me, with an urgent "read this, you will love it." Now, I feel like I have to have my own copy so that I can reread at will.
This was a great warm-up book for The Overstory, which I am currently reading. We, as a species, have a lot to answer for!