The best 20 Plants & Trees books

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Plants & Trees Books: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The Botany of Desire

Michael Pollan
A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
4.4 (75 ratings)
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What's The Botany of Desire about?

The Botany of Desire (2001) explores the complex and fascinating relationship between humans and plants. In these blinks, we’ll see how plants manipulate humans by taking advantage of our four basic desires for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control, and how, in turn, we help plants reproduce and even grow stronger.

Who should read The Botany of Desire?

  • Gardeners curious about our relationship with plants
  • People interested in botany
  • All readers with an interest in anthropology

Plants & Trees Books: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees

Peter Wohlleben
What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World
4.7 (410 ratings)
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What's The Hidden Life of Trees about?

Trees are engaged in countless complex cycles and they constantly struggle for water, light and their own survival. This struggle has led to some astonishing abilities: trees communicate with one another, give each other assistance, collaborate with fungi and other creatures, have memories and have even developed their own version of the internet!

Who should read The Hidden Life of Trees?

  • Anyone who’d like to experience the woods in a very new way
  • Students of biology and ecosystems
  • People who work in farming or forestry, or who have their own garden

Plants & Trees Books: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature

Andrea Wulf
Alexander von Humboldt’s New World
4.5 (54 ratings)
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What's The Invention of Nature about?

The Invention of Nature (2015) shines a light on the extraordinary life of explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt. Discover Humboldt’s amazing perspective on our relationship to the world and find out how his ecological discoveries and observations are just as relevant and profound today as they were in the nineteenth century.

Who should read The Invention of Nature?

  • Environmentalists
  • Students of environmental history, art and science
  • Scientists, especially biologists and botanists

Plants & Trees Books: The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson

The Triumph of Seeds

Thor Hanson
How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History
4.4 (34 ratings)
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What's The Triumph of Seeds about?

The Triumph of Seeds (2015) tells the amazing story of the influence of seeds. Find out how plants have managed to endure and evolve over the course of Earth’s long history and how they manipulated both man and animal into doing their bidding.

Who should read The Triumph of Seeds?

  • Students of biology, ecology or agriculture
  • Botanists
  • Readers who love natural science or gardening

Plants & Trees Books: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
4.5 (321 ratings)
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What's Braiding Sweetgrass about?

Braiding Sweetgrass (2013) offers a profound and insightful look at the relationship between humans and Mother Earth. With the growing concerns about climate change, deforestation and the depletion of our natural resources, it is more important than ever to reevaluate how we treat the world around us. Find out how the traditional practices of Native Americans can help us make the world a better place for future generations.

Who should read Braiding Sweetgrass?

  • Environmentalists
  • Students of anthropology or botany
  • Readers who appreciate a holistic approach to science

Plants & Trees Books: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson
Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
4.2 (60 ratings)
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What's A Walk in the Woods about?

A Walk in the Woods (1997) is author Bill Bryson’s personal account of walking the Appalachian Trail – one of the longest hiking trails in the US – which stretches from Georgia in the South to Maine in the North. Partially a memoir recalling his attempt to follow its route, the book is also a tribute to the ecology, wildlife, geological history and natural environment of North America. What’s more, Bryson’s old school friend, Stephen Katz, also comes along for the ride.

Who should read A Walk in the Woods?

  • Hikers and travelers
  • Lovers of nature and the great outdoors
  • Anyone who likes a good adventure story

Plants & Trees Books: Losing Eden by Lucy Jones

Losing Eden

Lucy Jones
Why Our Minds Need the Wild
4.5 (60 ratings)
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What's Losing Eden about?

Losing Eden (2020) explores how modern alienation from the natural world is causing a global mental health crisis – and how we can reintroduce nature to our lives. Author Lucy Jones embarks on a fascinating journey through new scientific research that shows why forging a bond with nature is critical for our health and wellness, while also raising awareness about the alarming effects of its absence.

Who should read Losing Eden?

  • Nature lovers who are worried about the future of the planet
  • Anyone interested in boosting their mental health 
  • People concerned with socioeconomic inequality

Plants & Trees Books: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

A Life on Our Planet

David Attenborough
My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future
4.6 (220 ratings)
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What's A Life on Our Planet about?

A Life on Our Planet (2020) is celebrated naturalist David Attenborough’s account of the incredible wonders he’s seen in his 94 years on Earth – and a vivid warning of what will happen if we continue on our current path. It’s accompanied by a Netflix documentary of the same name.

Who should read A Life on Our Planet?

  • Anyone who loves nature television
  • Those concerned about global warming
  • People who want to take action to save our planet before it’s too late

Plants & Trees Books: The Incredible Journey of Plants by Stefano Mancuso

The Incredible Journey of Plants

Stefano Mancuso
4.6 (88 ratings)
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What's The Incredible Journey of Plants about?

The Incredible Journey of Plants (2020) tells the fascinating story of how plants came to inhabit every corner of the globe. Pairing natural history with the latest insights from the life sciences, this biological biography shows how plants are much more dynamic than they seem.

Who should read The Incredible Journey of Plants?

  • Plant-lovers eager to learn more about their gardens
  • Herbivores curious about the history of their food 
  • Anyone interested in deeper insights into the natural world

Plants & Trees Books: The Eight Master Lessons of Nature by Gary Ferguson

The Eight Master Lessons of Nature

Gary Ferguson
What Nature Teaches Us About Living Well in the World
4.5 (165 ratings)
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What's The Eight Master Lessons of Nature about?

The Eight Master Lessons of Nature (2019) is a reflective treatise on what nature can teach us about living well. Carefully observing many forms of life, from forest mushrooms to mighty elephants, the guide reveals valuable lessons they may hold for us. In doing so, it invites us to look again at the wild world around us with a renewed sense of awe and wonder.

Who should read The Eight Master Lessons of Nature?

  • City slickers seeking a greener life
  • Nature lovers looking for a deeper connection
  • Those searching for a more mellow approach to living

Plants & Trees Books: Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

Entangled Life

Merlin Sheldrake
How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape Our Futures
4.7 (151 ratings)
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What's Entangled Life about?

Entangled Life (2020) ushers us into the vast, hidden world of fungi. In it, we follow molds, yeasts, lichens, and many other fungi as they creep through the soil, intoxicate us with their scent, and induce mesmerizing visions. With a change in perspective, we can begin to see the world from a more fungal point of view –⁠ and understand how these organisms might be the key to our future survival.

Who should read Entangled Life?

  • Plant lovers and amateur naturalists
  • Fans of nature shows and documentaries
  • People who enjoy looking at the world from different perspectives

Plants & Trees Books: Grand Transitions by Vaclav Smil

Grand Transitions

Vaclav Smil
How the Modern World Was Made
4.3 (255 ratings)
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What's Grand Transitions about?

Grand Transitions (2020) offers a sweeping overview of global transitions, from population growth to environmental changes. It examines the ways that we’ve shaped the world, for better or worse, and looks at the challenges facing humanity in the decades to come.

Who should read Grand Transitions?

  • People who want to understand world history, and how we got where we are today
  • Environmentalists, and anyone interested in the state of the planet
  • Realists looking for a future forecast based on facts

Plants & Trees Books: Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert

Under a White Sky

Elizabeth Kolbert
The Nature of the Future
4.3 (101 ratings)
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What's Under a White Sky about?

For thousands of years, we humans have been struggling against nature. Under a White Sky (2021) explores the problems that come about when we win that fight –⁠ and how scientists, engineers, and others are trying to fix them. From the quaint to the grandiose, from the quirky to the terrifying, it’s our responsibility to explore all available remedies for the deep damage we’ve wrought.

Who should read Under a White Sky?

  • Anyone concerned about the state of the natural world
  • Plant and animal lovers
  • Futurists curious about global changes

Plants & Trees Books: Forest Bathing by Qing Li

Forest Bathing

Qing Li
How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness
4.7 (300 ratings)
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What's Forest Bathing about?

Forest Bathing (2018) is a guide to the Japanese practice of forest bathing. It explores the beliefs, culture, and traditions behind forest bathing, as well as various studies on its health benefitsIt also lays out easy-to-follow steps for practicing forest bathing in any environment.

Who should read Forest Bathing?

  • People interested in nature’s effect on human health
  • Nature lovers
  • Japanese culture enthusiasts

Plants & Trees Books: The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

The Comfort Crisis

Michael Easter
Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self
4.4 (271 ratings)
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What's The Comfort Crisis about?

The Comfort Crisis (2021) offers a cure for the physical and mental health problems of modern-day life. It’s all about getting comfortable with discomfort, which can mean anything from roughing it in the wilderness to contemplating death.

Who should read The Comfort Crisis?

  • People feeling disillusioned with modern life
  • Restless spirits craving an Into the Wild experience
  • Anyone interested in improving their physical or mental health

Plants & Trees Books: The Secret World of Weather by Tristan Gooley

The Secret World of Weather

Tristan Gooley
How to Read Signs in Every Cloud, Breeze, Hill, Street, Plant, Animal, and Dewdrop
4.4 (210 ratings)
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What's The Secret World of Weather about?

The Secret World of Weather (2021) teaches you how to speak the forgotten language of local climates. Clouds, winds, plants, and other features of our environment all give us clues about the weather as we actually experience it versus what we’ve heard on the daily forecast. With just a little practice, you’ll find it easy to tune into their secret messages and start making your own weather forecasts.

Who should read The Secret World of Weather?

  • Hikers, bikers, and wandering spirits
  • City dwellers looking to reconnect with nature
  • Anyone who doesn’t quite trust their weather app!

Plants & Trees Books: This Is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan

This Is Your Mind on Plants

Michael Pollan
4.3 (307 ratings)
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What's This Is Your Mind on Plants about?

This Is Your Mind on Plants (2021) is a vivid, intricate probe into the history, chemistry, and effects of three plant-derived drugs: opium, caffeine, and mescaline. These substances – a sedative, a stimulant, and a hallucinogen – represent a large part of the human experience with drugs. It’s time to shed new light on how they’ve shaped our histories, cultures, and minds.

Who should read This Is Your Mind on Plants?

  • Psychonauts and introspective thinkers
  • Botanists, plant lovers, and science geeks
  • Anyone interested in the history of the US war on drugs and its effects

Plants & Trees Books: The Emerald Planet by David Beerling

The Emerald Planet

David Beerling
How Plants Changed Earth's History
4.5 (42 ratings)
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What's The Emerald Planet about?

The Emerald Planet (2007) looks at the central role plants have played in shaping the planet and its environment. New research makes use of plants, both fossilized and living, to explain how the planet got where it is, and where it might go in the future. The Emerald Planet inspired a three-part BBC series called How to Grow a Planet.

Who should read The Emerald Planet?

  • Anyone interested in plant biology and paleobotany
  • People who want to learn more about ancient mass extinctions
  • Evolutionary science enthusiasts

Plants & Trees Books: Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

Finding the Mother Tree

Suzanne Simard
Discovering How the Forest Is Wired for Intelligence and Healing
4.5 (207 ratings)
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What's Finding the Mother Tree about?

Finding the Mother Tree (2021) is a vivid blend of science and memoir that describes the breathtaking personal and professional journey of renowned ecologist Suzanne Simard. It unearths the strange and surprising secrets buried deep in the forests of British Columbia –⁠ and, in the process, forever alters our understanding of the natural world. 

Who should read Finding the Mother Tree?

  • Lovers of the natural world
  • Fans of memoir and biography
  • Anyone yearning to escape the city for the wilderness

Plants & Trees Books: Gathering by Diane Ott Whealy


Diane Ott Whealy
Memoir of a Seed Saver

What's Gathering about?

Gathering is a memoir by Diane Ott Whealy that chronicles her journey to preserve heirloom seeds and the stories behind them. Through her personal experiences and family history, Whealy explores the importance of preserving biodiversity and the cultural significance of these seeds. This book is a celebration of the connections between people, plants, and the earth.

Who should read Gathering?

  • Individuals interested in organic gardening and sustainable farming
  • People curious about the history and origins of heirloom plants
  • Gardeners looking for practical tips and advice on seed saving and biodiversity

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