The Botany of Desire Themes

Michael Pollan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Botany of Desire.
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Humans Manipulate Plants

The book conclusively demonstrates that humans have manipulated plants through agriculture and cultivation throughout recorded history. All the plants mentioned are economically significant plants that have been extensively cultivated for prolonged periods of time. Most of the book, in fact, demonstrates and illustrates how extensive humans' influence over individual plant groups has been. The apple has been domesticated—in fact is named Malus domestica—for thousands of years and its natural range has been vastly expanded by human activity. The book discusses John Chapman's activity as an extreme example of how far the apple's range can be extended by vigorous cultivation. Much of modern agriculture's techniques have been developed for the purpose of further domesticating species such as apples. Thus, individual apple cultivars are discovered and artificially selected and propagated through grafting. The tulip genus has likewise been extensively and artificially selected, and its...

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This section contains 964 words
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