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In Anatomy of a Rose , Sharman Apt Russell eloquently unveils the “inner life” of flowers. From their diverse fragrances to their nasty deceptions, Russell proves that, where nature is concerned, “wonder is not only our starting point, it can also be our destination.” Throughout this botanical journey, she reveals that the science behind these intelligent plants-how they evolved, how they survive, how they heal-is even more awe-inspiring than their fleeting beauty. Russell helps us imagine what a field of snapdragons looks like to a honeybee, and she introduces us to flowers that regulate their own temperature, attract pollinating bats, even smell like a rotting corpse. She also delves into cutting-edge research on everything from flower senses to their healing power. Long used to ease everything from depression to childbirth, flowers are now our main line of defense against childhood leukemia and the deadly Ebola virus. In this poetic rumination, which combines graceful writing with a scientist’s clarity, Russell brings together the work of botanists around the globe, and illuminates a world at once familiar and exotic.
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