Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color
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 ReviewUser 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
Light Vision and Color
Fruits and Seeds
Why Leaves Turn Red
Plant Pigments and Related Molecules
Separating Plant Pigments by Paper Chromatography
Stems and Roots
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absorbance absorption acid animals anthocyanins apple areas Asteraceae attract autumn bark bean betalain blue color Bottom left Bottom right butterﬂy carbon carotenoid carotenoid pigments Cattleya cells chapter chemistry chlorophyll chloroplasts cm long color production complex culture D. W. Lee Ecology effects environments epidermal Fabaceae fabrics ﬁbers ﬁg Figure ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬂavonoid pigments ﬂavonols ﬂoral ﬂower color ﬂowers foliage fruits function Garden genes genetic green Horticultural important inﬂuence insects intense iridescent landscapes layers leaf leaves light meristem Miami modiﬁed molecules nature orchids particularly pathway petals photographed at FTBG photosynthesis plant colors plant pigments plastids pollinators produce color purple radiation red color Red Delicious reﬂectance refractive rudraksha sarcotesta Science scientiﬁc sea lettuce Secoya seeds senescing species speciﬁc spectrum stem stomata structure sunlight surface thick tion tissue Top left Top right tropical rain forests trunk umbrella tree understory undersurface vacuoles variegation variety visual wavelengths yellow