Urban Arboreal by Michael Jordon highlights trees used in town planning, new and old, to contribute to clean air and balance the landscape. Each tree has a fascinating history and purpose. With one page on the tree and one with an illustration of this tree, the book is both educational and artistically beautiful! I have long loved trees in general but, the more I learn of them, their variety and benefits, beauty and strength, I am learning to love them individually!

Several favourite trees feature and I have found a few new ones too! Many of the facts are surprising, such as

  • Of the Bodhi tree “In common with other ‘strangler’ figs, it can initially grow as an epiphyte by germinating from a seed deposited on the upper branches of a host tree, which it then progressively outcompetes by putting down long aerial roots.”
  • Of the Colombian Wax Palm “In the past much damage has been wrought to these remarkable trees through stripping the leaves for the Christian religious celebration of Palm Sunday”
  • Of the Maidenhair tree “Sometimes known in Japan ‘upside down tree’, this quaint name derives from the way that the branches, when left to their own devices, grow downward, and very old trees can develop limbs that become aerial roots or so-called stalactite branches.

I highly recommend this one if your are fond of trees! Five out of five!

From the back cover:

Trees are an important part of the life of many cities. Whether in avenues or parks they provide shade, a green resting place for the eye, comfort for the mind, and as we increasingly know from research, help keep the atmosphere cool and fresh. Some cities are famous for a particular species, such as the orange trees of Seville, London’s plane trees, or Washington DC’s cherry blossoms, whereas others are renowned for trees in general, such as the remarkable diversity to be found in Delhi.

Urban Arboreal looks at city trees and their stories in all their complexity – how they have become synonymous with their cities is often an untold story. By knowing more about these trees we come to know more about the very spaces we inhabit, or wish we did! It celebrates their glories and the symbolic place they have in the lives of city dwellers, and at how they are increasingly seen as important allies in improving the quality and health of the urban environment. Above all, this is a clarion call for bringing more life into urban communities. Through 70 trees we travel the world and come to learn the hidden histories that are wrapped up in these botanical giants.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Quarto Publishing Group – Aurum Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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