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Botany for Gardeners

Botany for Gardeners
Revised Edition
by Brian Capon
Timber Press, 2005

This newly revised edition of a popular horticulture text offers more photos and illustrations, as well as an appendix on taxonomy or "plant names," but otherwise it is much the same as its first edition in 1990. Written in layman's terms, it provides an accessible introduction to the science of botany -- how plants germinate and grow -- for both amateur gardeners and avid horticulturists.

Divided into five sections, this book explains how plants germinate and grow, how their stems and leaves are organized, what they've done to adapt to different environments, how they respond to light and consume water and nutrients, and finally, how they reproduce.

"When we work with plants, questions about them inevitably come to mind," author Brian Capon explains. "What takes place inside a seed after we have put it in the ground? How does water travel from soil to treetops? What makes a plant become bushy with repeated pruning? What controls seasonal flowering patterns?"

Botanists have pursued answers to these and other similar questions and Capon seeks to share their findings with language that is relatively free of the jargon that turns many gardeners away from the science. Where technical terms like plasmolysis or cytokinin are necessary, he tries to explain them within the context of the passage or with his own illustrations or with the glossary in the back of the book.

Botany for Gardeners
Revised Edition
by Brian Capon
Timber Press, 2005.
Order a copy.

Inside Roots and Leaves

Branching normally occurs a short distance behind the root tip. When damage occurs to the apical meristem, the pericycle is quickly stimulated to replace the apex with several branch roots. Thus, if a gardener breaks a few root tips while transplanting, the plant soon recovers -- but with more than the original number of roots.

apical meristem -- a region of actively dividing cells at the tip of a growing root or stem pericycle -- a root tissue giving rise to branch roots

Also by Brian Capon
Plant Survival: Adapting to a Hostile World

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