Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Sep 3, 2010 - Science - 432 pages
2 Reviews
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, David Lee began this book twenty-five years ago as he was hiking in the mountains outside Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by the wonders of the jungle, Lee found his attention drawn to one plant in particular, a species of fern whose electric blue leaves shimmered amidst the surrounding green. The evolutionary wonder of the fern’s extravagant beauty filled Lee with awe—and set him on a career-long journey to understand everything about plant colors.

Nature’s Palette
is the fully ripened fruit of that journey—a highly illustrated, immensely entertaining exploration of the science of plant color. Beginning with potent reminders of how deeply interwoven plant colors are with human life and culture—from the shifting hues that told early humans when fruits and vegetables were edible to the indigo dyes that signified royalty for later generations—Lee moves easily through details of pigments, the evolution of color perception, the nature of light, and dozens of other topics. Through a narrative peppered with anecdotes of a life spent pursuing botanical knowledge around the world, he reveals the profound ways that efforts to understand and exploit plant color have influenced every sphere of human life, from organic chemistry to Renaissance painting to the highly lucrative orchid trade.

Lavishly illustrated and packed with remarkable details sure to delight gardeners and naturalists alike, Nature’s Palette will enchant anyone who’s ever wondered about red roses and blue violets—or green thumbs.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Niecierpek - LibraryThing

A very interesting book on plant pigments. Lee covers what is known about colours of leaves and flowers in minute detail. He answers the question of how pigments are produced quite extensively, but ... Read full review

Contents

Coloring Our Bodies with Plants
1
Light Vision and Color
35
Natures Palette
56
The Canvas
81
Patterns
100
Leaves
121
Flowers
159
Fruits and Seeds
198
Iridescent Plants
251
Why Leaves Turn Red
270
Chlorophilia
296
Plant Pigments and Related Molecules
319
Separating Plant Pigments by Paper Chromatography
331
Chapter Notes
335
Illustration Notes
367
Index
391

Stems and Roots
226

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

David Lee is professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University and research collaborator at Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami. 

Bibliographic information