Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-11-30
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Though he didn't realize it at the time, David Lee began this book twenty-five years ago as he was hiking in the mountains outside Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by the wonders of the jungle, Lee found his attention drawn to one plant in particular, a species of fern whose electric blue leaves shimmered amidst the surrounding green. The evolutionary wonder of the fern's extravagant beauty filled Lee with aweand set him on a career-long journey to understand everything about plant colors. Nature's Paletteis the fully ripened fruit of that journeya highly illustrated, immensely entertaining exploration of the science of plant color. Beginning with potent reminders of how deeply interwoven plant colors are with human life and culturefrom the shifting hues that told early humans when fruits and vegetables were edible to the indigo dyes that signified royalty for later generationsLee moves easily through details of pigments, the evolution of color perception, the nature of light, and dozens of other topics. Through a narrative peppered with anecdotes of a life spent pursuing botanical knowledge around the world, he reveals the profound ways that efforts to understand and exploit plant color have influenced every sphere of human life, from organic chemistry to Renaissance painting to the highly lucrative orchid trade. Lavishly illustrated and packed with remarkable details sure to delight gardeners and naturalists alike,Nature's Palettewill enchant anyone who's ever wondered about red roses and blue violetsor green thumbs.

Author Biography

David Lee is professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University and research collaborator at Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami. 

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Coloring Our Bodies with Plantsp. 1
Light, Vision, and Colorp. 35
Nature's Palettep. 56
The Canvasp. 81
Patternsp. 100
Leavesp. 121
Flowersp. 159
Fruits and Seedsp. 198
Stems and Rootsp. 226
Iridescent Plantsp. 251
Why Leaves Turn Redp. 270
Chlorophiliap. 296
Plant Pigments and Related Moleculesp. 319
Separating Plant Pigments by Paper Chromatographyp. 331
Chapter Notesp. 335
Illustration Notesp. 367
Indexp. 391
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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