I'm looking for a book that helps me understand the basics of botanic and horticulture. I'm mostly interested in trees but if treats other kinds of plants that's great too.

What I'm looking for is not a reference of different species but something more general. It could include advice over some topics but it should come with a scientific explanation justifying it. Some of the topics that it could include are:

  • How do seeds work? How are they triggered to germinate?
  • How do roots develop and interact with the soil?
  • How are different nutrients used?
  • How do plants react to pruning?
  • What triggers the creation of flowers and fruits?
  • How do plants interact with pests (insects, fungi, etc)
  • Interaction of annual seasons

Of course, I'm completely OK with a technical book, as long as it doesn't presume a lot of previous knowledge in the field. I am also OK with recommendations that don't cover the full range of topics, focusing on some of them.

Any suggestions? Thank you!

  • I'm closing this because it is asking for a botany textbook (or books), not about a gardening problem that you're facing. If you want to discuss it, please come to chat or ask a question on meta – Niall C. Aug 23 '13 at 13:47
  • I don't know the site rules as well as you do, so if it should be closed, so be it. But as I see it learning about botany can ground a layer that can help us to be better gardeners, as botany is the foundation of gardening. – Artur Soler Aug 25 '13 at 8:25
  • Niall - looks like it was too broad, but if you're a qualified horticultural person, it isn't that difficult to answer. – Bamboo Aug 27 '13 at 11:04

Phew, the list of things you mention that you'd like covered constitute half the syllabus of a senior horticultural course lasting three years, so it's very difficult to single out something. I guess you could start with something like David Attenborough's The Private Life of Plants, which is a BBC publication. Doesn't deal too much with science (as in the Krebs cycle and gas exchange, etc.,) but it would be a starting point. If you want something more serious with more science, then "Botany - An Introduction to Plant Biology" ISBN 0-471-86840 by Weier/Stocking/Barbour/Rost might be more suitable.

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  • Thank you for your suggestions. I a aware that, as you say, this could be a good chunk of a horticultural undergrad degree. I imagine, though, that people taking those courses learn very deeply about those topics. I was looking for something a bit more shallow, while still technical. Your book suggestion seems like what I was looking for, will definitely read it. The BBC publication also seem interesting, I will to get it. Thanks again! – Artur Soler Aug 25 '13 at 8:23

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