Atlas of Poetic Botany

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Product Details
$24.95  $23.20
MIT Press
Publish Date
7.5 X 10.4 X 0.5 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author
Francis Hallé is a botanist and biologist who specializes in tropical rainforests and tree architecture. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Montpellier.
beautifully designed--Literary Review--

The author deserves that his words and drawings gain a large audience.

--Mark Avery's Blog--

Hallé presents his compelling descriptions and memories of some of the more remarkable ones, accompanied by his lovely sketches - far more effective than photographs, he believes, in capturing the reflection and "dialogue" necessary when "one stands face to face with an alien."

--Times Higher Education--

Hallé sets playful stylized drawings explicating the strange behaviours, adaptations and coevolution of each species. It's a vegetal parade that reminds us, yet again, how some chunks of Earth's biosphere still smack of terra incognita.


Its illustrations, drawn by the author, are as fascinating as the text....Hallé's passion for tropical botany is evident. He is fascinated not just by the trees, but by all the life connected to them....Reminded me once again of how important art is to botanical science.

--Herbarium World--

An affectionate look at the options and possibilities plants have developed to adapt and thrive in their jungle world. A fascinating look at the weird and wonderful variations in the plants of the equatorial tropical rain forests.

--BelleWood Gardens News--

His delightful descriptions of the plants -- which are written in an entertaining style based on his observations rather than in academic botanical terms -- make the book a page-turner.

--Mother Nature Network--

Exotic plant life and botanical adaptations that will delight and enthrall any plant nerds...

--Washington Gardener--

Reading this book, you'll feel as if you've stepped through the wardrobe door into Narnia itself: a landscape with flowers that look like rotten meat and smell like garbage; underground trees; ant gardens where "such symbiosis represents a pinnacle of coevolution between plants and animals." In Hallé's reflections, the plants in this wondrous parade of plants appear at first blush to be plants of aberration. However, nature is much more purposeful than that: the landscape has adapted to them, just as they have adapted to the landscape.


This unconventional but accessible book will appeal to general readers with an interest in botany. Recommended.


The Atlas of Poetic Botany is a book that, like botany itself, invites quiet, meandering contemplation, the appreciation of beauty and, as the pages turn, a sense of wonder.

--Cosmos Magazine--

A delightful read, with charming illustrations that exude the author's passion for botany and discovery.... A lovely addition to any bookshelf.

--Nature Plant--

The Atlas of Poetic Botany is a charming book about tropical plants that most of us will never see in their natural surroundings. It's therefore something of an armchair's botanist's delight, with easy-to-read text and wonderful illustrations.

--Botany One--