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A Gardening Murder Mystery

By Snuggiepants/Kriegerfrau | Books | July 20, 2010 |

By Snuggiepants/Kriegerfrau | Books | July 20, 2010 |

Well. I love gardening, am obsessed with plants and also love history and a good murder mystery. This book? Has ALL that. The author outlines more than a dozen of the world’s most deadliest plants and includes plants that have wreaked more than their fair share of havoc due to humans such as the coca plant (cocaine), poppies, and cannabis.

What I loved best about this book were the stories of people using these plants maliciously or accidentally, resulting in tragedy. One of the most interesting examples was Hannibal’s use of the belladonna plant to poison the wine he left behind for African soldiers. It’s said to be one of the first examples of chemical warfare. The soldiers came upon the wine, drank it and fell into such a stupor that Hannibal was able to turn his men back and attack, seizing Carthage.

I didn’t know there were exploding plants (they burn themselves, causing their seeds to fly—pretty ingenious, Mother Nature), trees that shed poison arrows, and plants so lethal even touching the leaves causes an almost instantaneous red welt-like rash anywhere it comes in contact with skin.

You really don’t have to be a plant geek like me to love this book—it’s interesting as a piece of history and sociology. But if you are a plant geek, you really MUST read it. It’s fairly short and you can polish it off in an afternoon, but oh it’s fun.

And stay away from that man-eating vine, OK?

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Snuggiepants’ reviews, check out her blog, KRIEGERFRAU.

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