Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities, was featured on NPR today, driving up substantial reserves on the book; several libraries we checked did not have it, while others had 18 or fewer copies.
The book offers an anecdotal look at plants that are illegal, dangerous and even deadly. According to a New York Times “At Home With” profile of the author in May, Wicked Plants “makes no pretense of being a comprehensive guide to poisonous plants. While it is instructive, its focus is on great yarns.” (The Times also reveals that, intriguingly, Stewart began cultivating a “poison garden” when she started working on the book three years ago.)
Although the author has received local coverage in her Portland, OR hometown, East Coast papers such as the Newark Star-Legder have also picked up on the book because of a corresponding exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City.
The deadliest plant according to Stewart? Tobacco–as it has killed 90 million people.