Wonderful Weeds

An Extensive & Fully Illustrated Guide from Seedlings to Fruit

Madeline Harley

In Wonderful Weeds, botanist Madeline Harley pairs clear, informative descriptions with exquisite photographs to provide unsurpassed coverage of almost 200 British weedy species.

265 x 210 mm

240 pages


ISBN: 978-1-906506-60-5


Subjects: Nature, Botany

Weedy wild flowers have been around for centuries, but have probably never been viewed so unsympathetically as now, when we rarely have a use for them beyond compost or green manure. Old farming practices and post-War agricultural policies have driven some of our wild flowers almost to extinction, including the symbolic red poppy, which would have been obliterated by agro-chemicals long ago were it not for the enormous longevity of the poppy seed. Today, it is especially important that we remain conscious of the impacts of insensitive land management on natural ecosystems, and take steps to prevent further damage. Wonderful Weeds is the clearest and most comprehensive record of widespread British weeds since the early 20th Century. Unbiased, informative descriptions are accompanied by exquisite photographs, providing unsurpassed coverage of almost 200 British weedy species, from tiny flowers smaller than a pinhead to the riotous Corn Marigold or Rosebay Willowherb. Now, for the first time, enthusiasts and non-specialists alike will be able to confidently identify these underappreciated plants, and understand their important role in the ecosystem.

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Madeline Harley

Botanist Madeline Harley was, until her retirement in 2005, Head of the Pollen Research Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research work, which is internationally recognised, is concerned mainly with the study of species-specific pollen characteristics in the field of flowering plant evolution and relationships. She has authored or co-authored more than 80 professional articles and books. She has presented her work at numerous international conferences. Dr Harley is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and holds an Honorary Research Fellowship for her work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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All hail to Madeline Harley, author of Wonderful Weeds. This large format paperback shows and describes weeds in all their stages, in all their glory. Fascinating, definitely one for the bedside table.
The Telegraph

"It is a book that will be handed down through the generations and never weeded out of the bookshelf."
Gardens Illustrated

"Harley has produced a book which is both erudite and approachable, scholarly and yet fascinating."
Cambridge News