Wicked Plants

I decided to take today off and gnaw down part of my ‘to read’ pile. (I swear it’s a living thing, growing ever taller!) I just finished the most delightful little book.

Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009, ISBN 978-1-56512-683-1) is full of interesting tidbits.

I was taught about dangerous, illegal & poisonous plants in school but none of my courses were entitled, “Duck & Cover” (for plants that shoot seeds), or “Social Misfits” (for plants that like fire; exude a “slobber”; or stink). Ms. Stewart covers plants from around the world, including those now cultivated as houseplants. Included as well are some current scientific explanations for antique assumptions. She’s done her research and includes both Latin binomials and common names of the plants she references so you know exactly what plant she’s talking about.

If you’ve got a wicked streak, or just an interest in interesting plants, pick this book up. It’s a fast read and one you’ll want to refer back to if you’re a budding Jessica Fletcher.

PS  I won’t spoil the surprise but the answer to “which weed killed Lincoln’s mother”  can be found on page 213.