The Science of Plant Color
Nature’s Palette is the fully ripened fruit of that journey—a 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 culture—from the shifting hues that told early humans when fruits and vegetables were edible to the indigo dyes that signified royalty for later generations—Lee 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 Palette will enchant anyone who’s ever wondered about red roses and blue violets—or green thumbs.
Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
“This book is written for the ‘informed non-scientist, probably with an interest in gardening or natural history.’ David Lee hits his target audience very successfully. He obviously cares about colour because he tells us what photographic film he used for his significant personal contribution to the 238 colour photographs in this richly illustrated book—a small point perhaps but indicative of the detail and care that has gone into its preparation.”
One Coloring Our Bodies with Plants
Two Light, Vision, and Color
Three Nature's Palette
Four The Canvas
Eight Fruits and Seeds
Nine Stems and Roots
Ten Iridescent Plants
Eleven Why Leaves Turn Red
Appendix A: Plant Pigments and Related Molecules
Appendix B: Separating Plant Pigments by Paper Chromatography