Lincoln Taiz is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists. He has published over a hundred and fifty research papers on a broad range of topics in plant physiology, and is the co-author of the standard textbook in the field, Plant Physiology and Development, currently in its sixth edition. Lee Taiz, a research biologist specializing in electron microscopy, co-authored numerous papers on plant biology and on the history of science while on the staff of the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her paintings, primarily on botanical subjects, have been exhibited widely, and appear in books, periodicals, and exhibition catalogs.
When botanist Linnaeus wrote in 18th-century Europe about brides and bridegrooms and sexual practices in the marriage beds of the Vegetable Kingdom, he joined cultural conversations about women, men, and plants that had been going on for centuries. This fascinating and very welcome book by two plant biologists offers historical perspectives on ideas about plant reproduction, especially disputes between sexualists and asexualists. Based in energetic research and richly illustrated, it melds the history of science with current gender studies about cultural factors that shape scientific ideas. Lincoln Taiz and Lee Taiz track associations dating back to Mesopotamian vegetation goddesses and forward into Romantic writings between women, flowers, fertility, sexuality, and qualities gendered feminine, especially what the authors term the plants-as-female gender bias. Ann Shteir, York University This book presents an impressive, highly readable, and beautifully illustrated panorama of the way that our understanding of sex, and ultimately sex in plants, expanded from the Stone Age to the 19th century. In the scholarly hands of Lincoln and Lee Taiz, the puzzle of plant reproduction gives us a fascinating mirror into human thought as it has grown in complexity through the ages. A masterpiece of exposition that will sturdily stand with the passage of time. Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden What are flowers for? With gusto and deep learning, Flora Unveiled explains why humanity took millennia to figure out that plants have sex - and why that great discovery met with disbelief and disgust. A classic of scientific and cultural exposition, with surprises on every page! Karen Reeds, author of Come into A New World: Linnaeus and America This is a magnificent book, both erudite and engaging. Never losing their guiding thread of vegetal sexuality, Lincoln and Lee Taiz successfully cross-pollinate the specimens of knowledge that grow on the fields of plant science, philosophy, religious studies, and aesthetics. Flora Unveiled is better than a revelation; it is the event of truth (Heidegger's un-concealment) blossoming in the ever-metamorphosing shape of a plant. Michael Marder, author of The Philosopher's Plant (2014) and, with Luce Irigaray, Through Vegetal Being (2016)