Flora Britannica: The Concise Edition
By Richard Mabey
The concise edition of Mabey's original Flora Britannica
, published two years previously. Like its bigger sibling, this book is the result of many year's effort and research into the place of Britain's flora in our culture; both current and historical.
Hardback. 17x24cm. 271 pages.
The book draws together contributions from hundreds of people from all over the country who have corresponded with Richard Mabey, as well as information from many of other sources. The text is a blend of information on natural history and cultural lore for our native and naturalised flora. As can be expected of a concise edition, the book is not comprehensive in its coverage, though it still contains a wealth of information and most major groups of plants are covered.
The book is organised into the following chapters: local names, plants as emblems, games and rituals, plants as resources, trees, plants as historical landmarks, immigrant plants, urban commons, churchyards, beauties and prodigals and a calendar of plant folklore. Some of the chapters overlap, for example trees are not only covered in the chapter of the same name, but also in 'plants as historical landmarks' and elsewhere.
Everyone will have their own favourite part in this book. I enjoyed the parts about trees, as I suspect many people would, but the part I turned to as soon as I got the book was the section about elms (Ulmus sp.). I grew up in South Essex and remember the landscape before and after the ravages of dutch elm disease, so this section was hugely evocative and interesting for me. Anyone who reads this book will find something in it which is particularly resonant for them.
Mabey, R. 1998. Flora Britanica: the concise edition. Chatto and Windus, London. ISBN 0 7011 6731 9.
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