2 Good Books Take Us to the Inner Lives of Plants

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Do trees live in families? Do they defend one another? Do trees “feel” a loss when one of their community disappears? What if a tree “remembers” the climatic conditions of its seedling days, but experiences a changed climate as it reaches the century mark?

If you’re ready to entertain the possibilities (and implications) of a journey to the inner lives of trees and all plants, as well as a journey to the inner life of a plant scientist, welcome to “Lab Girl” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).

Then, go on an enchanted forest stroll with "The Hidden Life of Trees" by German forester Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, 2016). 

You'll never see trees or forests the same way again. 

Author Hope Jahren has spent a career devoted to understanding plants’ “deep otherness.” So when she says, “Plants are not like us,” she has earned the right to the observation. Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist who has traveled the globe for more than 20 years to study the interactions of the earth, atmosphere, and vegetation. 

Peter Wohlleben is a forester with a penchant for storytelling. He starts with his own awakening, when one day more than 20 years ago he had a chance encounter with an ancient tree stump. He determined that the stump, perhaps 400 years old, was alive—yet it had no leaves, so it could not photosynthesize. The tree’s neighbors, he learned, kept it alive by feeding it through root connections and fungal pathways.

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