Seeds, Sex and Civilization

How the Hidden Life of Plants has Shaped Our World


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ISBN: 9780500251706 Category:

Peter Thompson, Stephen Harris


In this absorbing history, Peter Thompson explores how mankind has gradually learned what seeds are, where they come from and their role in the survival of the productivity of crops and wildflowers. Thompson brings to life the eccentrics, explorers, amateurs and highly dedicated professionals who have accumulated our knowledge. Some are well known, such as Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel; others, like the Russian geneticist Nikolai Vivilov, are less so. The book concludes with a chapter by Stephen Harris on current debates about genetically modified crops, seed conservation and plant ownership in the contemporary world.

Additional information

Weight 880 g
Dimensions 16.2 x 24.2 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 October 2010
Number of pages 272
Format Hardback
Dimensions 16.2 x 24.2 cm
Weight 880 g

Stephen Harris is Druce Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria and a Fellow of GreenTempleton College. He is the author of Ecological Genetics: Design,Analysis and Application as well as two books on botanical history and plant illustration.

PeterThompson, for many years the Head of Plant Physiology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was a pioneer in the application of seed banking to the conservation of threatened plant species. In later years he ran a plant nursery and wrote many books for gardeners, including The Propagator's Handbook and The Self-Sustaining Garden. PeterThompson died in 2008 after writing this book.