The Botany of Desire
|Preceded by||A Place of My Own|
|Followed by||The Omnivore's Dilemma|
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World is a 2001 nonfiction book by journalist Michael Pollan. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The tulip, beauty; marijuana, intoxication; the apple, sweetness; and the potato, control.
The stories range from the true story of Johnny Appleseed to Pollan's first-hand research with sophisticated marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam to the paradigm-shifting possibilities of genetically engineered potatoes. Pollan also discusses the limitations of monoculture agriculture: specifically, the adoption in Ireland of a single breed of potato (the Irish Lumper) made the Irish vulnerable to a fungus to which it had no resistance, resulting in the Irish Potato Famine. The Peruvians from whom the Irish had gotten the potato grew hundreds of varieties, so their exposure to any given pest was slight.
The book was used as the basis for The Botany of Desire, a two-hour program broadcast by PBS.
- The Botany of Desire - official PBS program site - October 28, 2009
- "A Plant's-Eye View Of The World" interview of Michael Pollan by NPR
- Botany of Desire conversation with Michael Pollan on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer June 29, 2001.
- Bookbrowse.com- Summary and reviews
- YouTube - Cannabis Forgetting and the Botany of Desire Berkeley lecture by Michael Pollan