In Review: The Tree Book

As we approach National Tree Week, our minds turn to the forthcoming tree planting season, and to the value and integrity of sharing space with some of the longest-living lifeforms on earth. It is well worth pausing to consider how amazing trees are, both to the environment - in sustaining wildlife, purifying the air and providing shelter - and to us, as nature’s masterpieces imprinted upon our landscapes. It is no secret that biophilia (humans seeking connection from nature) can boost immunity, mental health and support cognitive function, so there are definitive benefits in appreciating your own leafy surroundings.

'Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky'

Kahlil Gibran

The Tree Book

This sense of grateful recognition can be found in ‘The Tree Book’ by DK Books which embraces the wonder of trees. Combining natural history and a scientific overview with a wider look at the history, uses, symbolism, and mythology of trees, this book forms a comprehensive guide to their diversity and interest.

This is a large book, ideal for all ages, with something interesting to be found on every page – did you know that olive oil can be used in lamps, eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals except koalas and the legend that if a jacaranda bloom falls on a student’s head it denotes a good exam result?

The book begins with asking ‘What is a tree?’ before explaining how trees work and how they are classified. Almost 100 varieties of trees are showcased, using a multitude of photographic images and quotes, referencing cultural and historical points of interest. It’s a great book to dip into or to develop a keener knowledge of the vast assortment of trees around the world.

In the fight against climate change, trees are a crucial weapon in capturing and storing carbon, but sadly only 13% of UK’s land area is covered by trees compared with an EU average of 37%.* We need more trees, and we need to protect the ones we already have, so why not seize the opportunity this winter to add your own legacy to the garden or simply enjoy those planted around you. This book will certainly provide the inspiration and motivation for some renewed arboreal appreciation!

(*The Woodland Trust)