Through botanical paintings and insightful essays, Flora examines the fascinating history of plants and flowers. Over 20 plant families are profiled, including cacti, daffodils, iris, magnolia, poppies, roses, tulips and waterlilies.Throughout history, plants have affected our lives, even shaping societies. Holland's infamous tulip craze is legendary. The 17th century spice trade was so profitable that stevedores who unloaded nutmeg from the boats had to wear coveralls without pockets since a single nutmeg was worth a fortune.The natural history of plants is itself an engrossing topic. The book covers how plants have adopted remarkable behaviours for survival in a variety of harsh habitats. One such plant is the dead horse arum, a putrid-smelling plant that adapted to compete with dead birds to attract pollinating carrier flies.Plants that gardeners now take for granted could once be found only in remote and hostile regions. Flora tells the remarkable stories of the adventurous botanist explorers who braved disease, slave traders, war, jungles and other dangers to collect plants now grown commonly in our own gardens.These pages are graced with hundreds of stunning colour illustrations selected from the vast collection of original botanical paintings archived at The Natural History Museum, London.