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7 Reasons to Love “Wicked Plants,” by Amy Stewart

  1. Creepy illustrations from Jonathon Rosen. Not sure what that guy’s on, but the mood of his drawings suits the subject matter perfectly.
  2. Its practical applications:  learn how to poison your neighbor, or keep an invasive plant out of your garden.  (Amy does not recommend poisoning your neighbor.  It’s just that you could if you wanted to, after reading this book.  She gives the number for Poison Control and recommends that if you think someone has been poisoned by a plant, to call that number immediately and not rely on the book as a reference.)
  3. Tobacco is considered a wicked plant.
  4. Plant family trees: most non-gardeners probably don’t know that tomatoes and potatoes are in the same plant family as deadly nightshade.  This, and other pretty poisonous families are fleshed out in the book.
  5. The categories of wicked:  deadly, intoxicating, destructive, dangerous, painful, illegal, and offensive.
  6. Anthropomorphism of plants.  I love the opening to the “Social Misfits” category:  “The way some plants behave is disgusting and downright embarrassing.  There are the arsonists-plants that use fire as a weapon to clear the way for their offspring. . . Other offenders stink, slobber, and even bleed.  Don’t invite any of these horticultural misfits to your next garden party.”  I knew I wasn’t the only one who considered the plants in my garden to be extensions of my family. (Heh)
  7. All of the fantastic facts that will come in handy if you are a) on Jeopardy some day, b) lost in the middle of the jungle, or your own yard, or c) need to off somebody.

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