Book Review: An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds by Jonathan Silvertown
with Nicolette Cagle, Ecologist
Date: Friday, December 1, 2017 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Join us for a book discussion that will change the way in which we see the world. This book is one for anyone interested in nature. Seeds come to life through entertaining stories of the botany of seeds, their diversity, evolution and fate.
Fee: $15 (NCBG Members $14).
About the book: 'The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself.
Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life.' -UChicago Press
About the presenter:
Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D. is a lecturer in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the director of the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke. Nicolette has also lectured and trained instructors for Duke’s Thompson Writing Program. She has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA-MSU to conduct research in ecology and environmental education. She has published scholarly articles in journals such as Biological Conservation, and she has refereed for numerous scholarly publications, including The Journal of Applied Ecology and Wetlands. As a certified environmental educator & NAI trainer, Nicolette also teaches and consults for a number of organizations in the Durham area. Nicolette received her Doctorate in Ecology from Duke University in 2008 and a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois - Urbana in 2002.