Gathering the Desert

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University of Arizona Press, 1986 - Gardening - 209 pages
To the untrained eye, a desert is a wasteland that defies civilization; yet the desert has been home to native cultures for centuries and offers sustenance in its surprisingly wide range of plant life. Gary Paul Nabhan has combed the desert in search of plants forgotten by all but a handful of American Indians and Mexican Americans. In Gathering the Desert readers will discover that the bounty of the desert is much more than meets the eye—whether found in the luscious fruit of the stately organpipe cactus or in the lowly tepary bean. Nabhan has chosen a dozen of the more than 425 edible wild species found in the Sonoran Desert to demonstrate just how bountiful the land can be. From the red-hot chiltepines of Mexico to the palms of Palm Springs, each plant exemplifies a symbolic or ecological relationship which people of this region have had with plants through history. Each chapter focuses on a particular plant and is accompanied by an original drawing by artist Paul Mirocha. Word and picture together create a total impression of plants and people as the book traces the turn of seasons in the desert.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wesh - LibraryThing

A satisfying admixture of science, spirituality, and history. Three believable perspectives on native foodways and the tenuous bounty of the Earth. This is a personal favorite. Read full review

Gathering the desert

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Nabhan, a naturalist specializing in arid lands, seeks in this book to popularize his field. He believes a better informed general public would prevent abuse to long-standing desert ecology. With a ... Read full review


Desert Plants as Calories Cures and Characters
The Creosote Bush Is Our Drugstore
The Palms in Our Hands
The Meat of the Poor People
Designing Baskets Designing Plants
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About the author (1986)

A MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, Gary Paul Nabhan is Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University.

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