My Goodreads review: “In Defense of Plants”

In Defense of Plants: An Exploration into the Wonder of Plants

In Defense of Plants: An Exploration into the Wonder of Plants by Matt Candeias
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Plants are nothing like us, which is part of the reason why I like them so much.”

That quote comes from Chapter 5, The Fight for Survival, in which author Matt Candeias describes how plants try to fight each other by growing taller than other plants or poisoning the ground to keep away competitor plants. They try to fight off herbivores (like us) by growing thorns, drenching themselves with toxins, or using chemicals to convince caterpillars to eat each other rather than the plant they’re on (yikes!).

Plants are wonderful and creepy. Most of the book describes what they do with lively details, but the opening two chapters tell how the author became interested in plants, and the last chapter describes the problems plants face, which are uncontrolled habitat degradation and destruction. If nature is like an analog clock, plants are the gears that make it work, and we are wantonly smashing the gears. Candeias offers some mitigating suggestions and, in the meantime, encourages us to enjoy the plants in our neighborhoods. He’s trying not to be gloom and doom, but I’m not sure that’s enough to make our future livable.

The book is educational and, except for the last chapter, fun to read. Color illustrations would have improved it, though, or even better quality black-and-white photos.

You might also enjoy the author’s ongoing podcasts at In Defense of Plants, https

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