The gnarled, immutable yew tree is one of the most evocative sights in the British and Irish language, an evergreen impression of immortality, the tree that provides a living botanical link between our own landscapes and those of the distant past. This book tells the extraordinary story of the yew’s role in the landscape through the millennia, and makes a convincing case for the origins of many of the oldest trees, as markers of the holy places founded by Celtic saints in the early medieval ‘Dark Ages’. With wonderful photographic portraits of ancient yews and a gazetteer (with locations) of the oldest yew trees in Britain, the book brings together for the first time all the evidence about the dating, history, archaeology and cultural connections of the yew. Robert Bevan-Jones discusses its history, biology, the origins of its name, the yew berry and its toxicity, its distribution across Britain, means of dating examples, and their association with folklore, with churchyards, abbeys, springs, pre-Reformation wells and as landscape markers. This third edition has an updated introduction with new photographs and corrections to the main text.
The yew is the oldest and most common tree in the world, but it is a plant of puzzling contradictions: it is a conifer with juicy scarlet berries, but no cones; deer can feast on its poisonous foliage, but it is lethal to farm animals; and it thrives where other plants cannot because of its extraordinarily low rate of photosynthesis. Exploring this paradoxical plant in Yew, Fred Hageneder surveys its position in religious and cultural history, its role in the creation of the British Empire, and its place in modern medicine. Hageneder explains the way the yew is able to renew itself from the inside by producing interior roots and how early humans, fascinated with its regenerative powers, began to associate the tree with concepts of life and death, the afterlife, and eternity. As such, it can be found at the sacred sites of Native Americans, Buddhists, and Shinto shrines in Japan, and it has become a living symbol of the resurrection for the Christian faith. He describes how churchyards saved many yews during the Middle Ages, when the trees were used for the mass production of the longbow, which laid the foundation for the British Empire. Finally, he discusses the latest scientific discoveries about the yew, including its use in cancer treatments. A comprehensive and richly illustrated history, Yew will appeal to botanists and other readers interested in the history and symbolism of the natural world.
The tree is beloved as Mother Nature's visible symbol of power and grace. The Meaning of Trees is a beautiful celebration of their lore and spirit, botany and history. Genera from aspen to willow are captured in 70 dramatic photographs that illustrate their brilliant seasonal transformations. Featuring 50 different types of tree, this informative compendium describes each by way of botanical qualities; medicinal uses for their leaves, bark, and wood; cultural symbolism; magical associations; and so much more. Fascinating facts abound: the Druids believed that only the wood of the yew tree was fit to make wands; a Ukrainian tonic of birch leaves contains the same healing properties as aspirin. A visually stunning and engaging guide, The Meaning of Trees is a fitting tribute to this most majestic of natural wonders.
A compelling account of the extraordinary relatives of ordinary garden conifers. Leading expert Aljos Farjon provides a compelling narrative that observes conifers from the standpoint of the curious naturalist. It starts with the basic question of what conifers are and continues to explore their evolution, taxonomy, ecology, distribution, human uses, and issues of conservation. As the story unfolds many popular misconceptions are dispelled, such as the false notion that all conifers have cones. The extraordinary diversity of conifers begins to dawn as Farjon describes the diminutive creeping shrub Microcachrys tetragona, whose strange seed cones resemble raspberries, and the prehistoric-looking Araucaria meulleri. The taxonomic diversity of conifers is huge and Farjon goes on to relate how, over the course of 300 million years, these trees and shrubs have adapted to survive geological upheavals, climatic extremes, and formidable competition from flowering plants. All who seek to learn more about the early history of life on our planet will cherish this book.
A lyrical tribute to the diversity of trees, their physical beauty, their special characteristics and uses, and their ever-evolving meanings Since the beginnings of history trees have served humankind in countless useful ways, but our relationship with trees has many dimensions beyond mere practicality. Trees are so entwined with human experience that diverse species have inspired their own stories, myths, songs, poems, paintings, and spiritual meanings. Some have achieved status as religious, cultural, or national symbols. In this beautifully illustrated volume Fiona Stafford offers intimate, detailed explorations of seventeen common trees, from ash and apple to pine, oak, cypress, and willow. The author also pays homage to particular trees, such as the fabled Ankerwyke Yew, under which Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn, and the spectacular cherry trees of Washington, D.C. Stafford discusses practical uses of wood past and present, tree diseases and environmental threats, and trees' potential contributions toward slowing global climate change. Brimming with unusual topics and intriguing facts, this book celebrates trees and their long, long lives as our inspiring and beloved natural companions.
Author: Rodney Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2016-07-28
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
This book provides an overview of current theories of and methods for analysing spoken discourse. It includes discussions of both the more traditional approaches of pragmatics, conversation analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and critical discourse analysis, and more recently developed approaches such as multimodal discourse analysis and critical sociolinguistics. Rather than treating these perspectives as mutually exclusive, the book introduces a framework based on principles from mediated discourse analysis in which different approaches to spoken discourse are seen as complementing and informing one another. In this framework, spoken discourse is seen as mediated through a complex collection of technological, semiotic and cultural tools which enable and constrain people's ability to engage in different kinds of social actions, enact different kinds of social identities and form different kinds of social relationships. A major focus of the volume is on the way technological tools like telephones, broadcast media, digital technologies are changing the way people communicate with spoken language. The book is suitable for use as a textbook in advanced courses in discourse analysis and language in social interaction, and will also be of interest to scholars in a variety of fields including linguistics, sociology, media studies and anthropology.
Author: P. A. Thomas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2000-02-13
Trees are vital to the healthy functioning of the global ecosystem and unparalleled in the range of materials they provide for human use. This volume is a comprehensive introduction to the natural history of trees, with information on all aspects of tree biology and ecology in easy-to-read and concise language. Peter Thomas uncovers fascinating insights into these ubiquitous plants, addressing in an illuminating way questions such as how trees are designed, how they grow and reproduce, and why they eventually die. Written for a nontechnical audience, the book is nonetheless rigorous in its treatment and a valuable source of reference for beginning students as well as interested lay readers.
Author: Robert Bevan-Jones
Release Date: 2009
documented history of medicinal usage. Four important fungi species - death cap, liberty cap, fly agaric and ergot - also have separate essays. As well as the plants' histories and appearance, their chemical constituents receive coverage. These give them powerful and diverse properties, which demand our admiration and respect." "The book aims to add to the knowledge offered by field identification guides and help reduce the risk associated with accidental ingestion. Case histories are given in as much detail as possible and the information will hopefully help the reader understand the properties of plants they may encounter, either in an archaeological, botanical or horticultural context. Most of these plants can yet be found growing in woodlands, parks, botanical gardens, roadsides, waterways, churchyards and abbey sites." --Book Jacket.
Author: Richard Mabey
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2016-01-11
"Highly entertaining…Without being sentimental about it, Mr. Mabey gets us to look at life from the plants' point of view. His science is sound, he's witty, and his language is engaging." —Constance Casey, New York Times The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey. A rich, sweeping, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, life and death. Writing in a celebrated style that the Economist calls “delightful and casually learned,” Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists such as da Vinci, Keats, Darwin, and van Gogh and across nearly 40,000 years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton’s apple and gravity, Priestley’s sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth’s daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America. Complemented by dozens of full-color illustrations, The Cabaret of Plants is the magnum opus of a great naturalist and an extraordinary exploration of the deeply interwined history of humans and the natural world.
Author: Julian Hight
Publisher: National Trust Books
Release Date: 2011
A lavishly illustrated tribute to Britain's oldest, largest and most famous trees told through legends, history and literature. Trees have always inspired awe and wonder and some of our ancient trees have been standing for over a thousand years. In this fascinating and lovingly researched book the author selects the most interesting of them and compares archive photographs and engravings with contemporary colour photographs. Some of the trees featured have changed drastically over the centuries, while others seem to have hardly changed at all. Each tree has its own distinct shape and character which it carries through its lifetime. Many of the trees in Britain's Tree Story are still standing and there is a gazetteer of where to see them, including in various National Trust properties. Britain's Tree Story is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated celebration of Britain's trees and the intriguing legends and stories that surround them. Ancient trees are a living link to our past and they often provide a fragile constant in an ever-changing world. This is their story, but in equal measure it is also ours.