Canadian Woodworking

Around the world in 80 trees

A cornucopia of marvelous trees beautifully illustrated.


A cornucopia of marvelous trees beautifully illustrated.

Author: Carl Duguay

If you’re enamoured of ecology, nature, or trees you’ll want to pick up a copy of this book. It’s one of the most interesting and beautifully illustrated books I’ve had the great pleasure of reading in years. The author, Jonathan Drori, has had a lifelong love of nature, nurtured by a childhood in close proximity to the world renowned Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. If you have a look at this biography you’ll see that he’s well qualified to write about the subject at hand. Lucille Clerc, the illustrator, may not have as distinguished a career as Drori, but she’s a wonderful talent – you can assess that yourself by viewing some of her recent work.

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Author: Jonathan Drori, Lucille Clerc (illustrator)
Price: $34.99
ISBN: 978-1786271617
Year: 2018
Format: hardcover, 240 pages


What Drori does in this book is take the reader around the world, starting in London and heading south-east through Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Our trip is from tree to tree – 80 of them in all. For Drori “…the most satisfying tree stories are the ones in which a piece of plant science has surprising human ramifications.” And indeed, this book is chock full of the most interesting tree anecdotes you’re likely to read. Take the Alder – in the presence of air the wood rots quickly, but submerged, the chemicals in its cells enables the wood to resist decay for decades. The city of Venice is virtually built upon Alder, with some of those timbers sunk over 700 years ago still doing the job.

Some of these trees you may be well familiar with – Elm, Spruce, Birch, and the aforementioned Alder – others less so – Kapik, Mopane, Durian, and Yaupon. Even for the familiar trees, Driori’s stories are informative, instructive, and plain amusing to read.

This is a very readable book. You can begin your trip in London or jump in anywhere along the route. The tree stories are short – between 1 and 5 pages, including illustrations. Drori blends information about tree biology and human/tree anthropology – the interaction between humans and trees. Drori only profiles 80 trees – considering that there are some 60,0000 unique tree species worldwide, imagine the countless other stores waiting to be told!

Last modified: June 12, 2023

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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