There has always been interest in how animals live their lives - it is easy for us to identify with them. But there are many remarkable stories about plants that deserve to be told. The Nature of Plants tells how plants adapt to the challenges of their habitats. Plants may live in places that provide too little rainfall, yet they thrive, either by evading drought, like the animals that live in deserts, or by tolerating the scarcity. There are plants that use other plants, climbing on them, strangling some, living in their leafy canopies, or parasitizing them. The Nature of Plants explores the love-hate relationships that plants have with animals, some feeding on plants but others drawn into serving plants by pollinating them, scattering their fruits and seeds, or being eaten themselves. The mostly hidden associations that plants have with bacteria and fungi are also revealed. Illustrated throughout with superb colour photographs, it is written in a way that is clear to anyone who wishes to understand the life of plants.
Although officially retired from Victoria University in Wellington, John Dawson continues to study plants in New Zealand and abroad. He received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and has written Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants in addition to many other botanical contributions. Rob Lucas is a lecturer in the Natural Resources Centre of the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and is the author of the horticultural identification guide, What's That Pest?. Together with John Dawson, Rob has written and photographed Lifestyles of New Zealand Forest Plants: New Zealand Coast & Mountain Plants, which was awarded the Natural Heritage Prize; and Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest.