With fun, fascinating vignettes, a renowned neurobiologist illuminates the interconnectedness of plant life and how we can learn from it to better plan our communities.
We animals account for a paltry 0.3% of the planet’s biomass while plants add up to 85%. And when, with just a little training, we are able to look at the world without seeing it solely as humanity’s playground, we cannot help but notice the ubiquity of plants. They are everywhere, and their stories are inevitably bound up with ours. As every tree in a forest is linked to all the others by an underground network of roots, uniting them to form a super organism, so plants constitute the nervous system, the plan that is the “greenprint” of our world. To ignore the existence of this plan is one of the most serious threats to the survival of our species. In this latest book, the brilliant Stefano Mancuso is back to illuminate the greenprint of our world. He does it through unforgettable stories starring plants that combine an inimitable narrative style with remarkable scientific rigor, from the story of the red spruce that gave Stradivarius the wood for his fourteen violins, to the Kauri tree stump, kept alive for decades by the interconnected root system of nearby trees. From the mystery of the slipperiness of the banana skin to the plant that solved the “crime of the century,” the Lindbergh kidnapping, by way of wooden ladder rungs.
About the Author
Stefano Mancuso is one of the world's leading authorities in the field of plant neurobiology, which explores signaling and communication at all levels of biological organization. He is a professor at the University of Florence and has published more than 250 scientific papers in international journals. His previous books include The Nation of Plants (Other Press, 2021), The Incredible Journey of Plants (Other Press, 2020), The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior, and Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence.
Gregory Conti has translated numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Italian including works by Emilio Lussu, Rosetta Loy, Elisa Biagini, and Paolo Rumiz. He is a regular contributor to the literary quarterly, Raritan.
“Insightful essays about the wondrous qualities of plants and humanity’s relationship with them…The reflections are as entertaining as they are educational and showcase the overlooked complexity of plant life. Shot through with wisdom and joy, this will captivate readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Mancuso] expertly combines his accessible style with pertinent scientific data…An eclectic and fascinating collection that will leave readers wanting more from this appealing guide to the world’s flora.” —Kirkus Reviews
“When does education stop and learning begin? Stefano Mancuso’s Planting Our World will let you know. With insatiable curiosity, and not without a tincture of humor, he will bring you on a banana slide that ends up with the moon trees of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. On the way there, you learn the friction coefficient of the banana skin and you will be surprised!” —Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees
“Are plants more alive than we are? Not a common question, perhaps, but Mancuso would answer yes. From stumps of the living dead, to trees that tell time, to the slipperiness of banana skins, he is a scientist who tells tall tales that also are true.” —William Bryant Logan, author of Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees
Praise for Stefano Mancuso: “Mancuso is a genial narrator…He effortlessly interweaves science with history, philosophy, and humor and introduces fascinating characters, very much including the plants themselves, which take on human, even heroic, traits.” —Wall Street Journal “Mancuso is the poet-philosopher of the movement, determined to win for plants the recognition they deserve.” —Michael Pollan, The New Yorker
“Insightful and pithy…Mancuso convincingly argues that the route to fighting climate change and mass extinction, and to living sustainably on this Earth, begins with a floral point of view.” —Zach St. George, author of The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future
“A renowned scientist…Mancuso concludes his elegant and cogent argument with straightforward advice accessible to anyone.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[Mancuso] masterfully and thoughtfully link[s] the stories of people, plants, and plant science. A must-read.” —Valerie Trouet, author of Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings