Have you ever wondered why the leaves of the Swiss cheese plant have holes? How aloe vera came to be harnessed as a medicinal powerhouse? Or why – despite your best efforts – you can’t keep your Venus flytrap alive? You are not alone: houseplant expert Jane Perrone has asked herself those very questions, and in Legends of the Leaf she digs deep beneath the surface to reveal the answers. By exploring how they grow in the wild, and the ways they are understood and used by the people who live among them, we can learn almost everything we need to know about our cherished houseplants. Along the way, she unearths their hidden histories and the journeys they’ve taken to become prized possessions in our homes: from the Kentia palms which stood either side of Queen Victoria’s coffin as she lay in state; to the dark history of the leopard lily, once exploited for its toxic properties; to English ivy, which provided fishermen with a source of bait. Each houseplant history in this beautifully illustrated collection is accompanied by a detailed care guide and hard-won practical advice, but it is only by understanding their roots that we can truly unlock the secrets to helping plants thrive.
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