Sunday, November 01, 2020

The Incredible Journey of Plants

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!


  1. This sounds great. Well written books that cover science and the natural world are fairly rare. They can be so very rewarding.

    Many of us do not think enough about plants. They are such an important part of our world. They can also be fascinating.

  2. Maps as plants! I love it. Will definitely be looking for a copy of this one. :)

  3. This looks awesome, and I was convinced on the map. Thanks for the heads up :)

  4. Sounds like a good one... I've got The Overstory coming up soon.

  5. I was wondering how you came upon it, so I am glad you mentioned it was recommended enthusiastically by your sister.

    I'm impressed the publisher was able to create such a visual book and keep the price reasonable.

    1. That's an excellent point. I assume since it was first printed in Italian, it must have done well, which made it more of a safe bet for a English version. It is a really beautiful book.

  6. Thanks for the tip, Jane! I've ordered it from my library and can't wait to get it!