The Botany of Desire is a nonfiction book that explores the relationship between humans and plants. Contrary to popular belief, the book argues that plants use and control humans as much as humans use and control them.
The author masterfully links four fundamental human desires – sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control – with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. Through these plants, the book illustrates how plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings.
The book is divided into four sections, each focusing on one of the four plants. In each section, the author delves into the history and cultural significance of the plant, as well as its biological properties.
The book also explores the ways in which humans have selectively grown, bred, and genetically engineered plants to suit their needs.
Overall, The Botany of Desire challenges readers to reconsider their relationship with plants and the natural world. It highlights the ways in which plants have shaped human history and culture, and how humans have in turn shaped the evolution of plants.
Useful takeaways from the book include:
- Plants use humans and animals because they cannot move.
- Humans have selectively bred and genetically engineered plants to suit their needs.
- The desire for control over food led to the widespread cultivation of the potato.
- The book challenges readers to reconsider their relationship with plants and the natural world.
What I Liked
I liked the counter-intuitive thesis of the book. It’s really hilarious..but also makes sense.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – the book is a fun read.