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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

The strange, amazing stories behind six everyday plants

<p>Did you know that tomatoes respond to a high C note? Or that the prickly pear made red fabric popular, and yams helped create the contraceptive pill? </p><p>Often beautiful, sometimes deadly, but constantly ingenious, plants are the sources of life and delight, myth and mayhem.</p><p>Their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilisations to flourish.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/apr/16/scottish-countryside-wildlife-lockdown-lifts">Scottish countryside visitors urged to be mindful of wildlife as lockdown lifts</a> </p><p>Jonathan Drori is the author of <a href="https://www.laurenceking.com/product/around-the-world-in-80-plants/">Around the World in 80 Plants</a> and <a href="https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/around-the-world-in-80-trees/">Around the World in 80 Trees</a>, both illustrated by Lucille Clerc and published by Laurence King. He is a former trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/24/the-strange-amazing-stories-behind-six-everyday-plants">Continue reading...</a>

Did you know that tomatoes respond to a high C note? Or that the prickly pear made red fabric popular, and yams helped create the contraceptive pill?

Often beautiful, sometimes deadly, but constantly ingenious, plants are the sources of life and delight, myth and mayhem.

Their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilisations to flourish.

Related: Scottish countryside visitors urged to be mindful of wildlife as lockdown lifts

Jonathan Drori is the author of Around the World in 80 Plants and Around the World in 80 Trees, both illustrated by Lucille Clerc and published by Laurence King. He is a former trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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