“In this slim but well-packed book, Mancuso presents an illuminating and surprisingly lively study of plant life. He smoothly balances expansive historical exploration with recent scientific research through stories of how various plant species are capable of migrating to locations throughout the world by means of air, water, and even via animals. They often continue to thrive in spite of dire obstacles and environments….Throughout, Mancuso persuasively articulates why an understanding and appreciation of how nature is interconnected is vital to the future of our planet….An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.”

“Mancuso (The Revolutionary Genius of Plants), a plant neurobiologist and professor at the University of Florence, pays homage to the “legendary conquests” of plants in this elegant and charmingly illustrated survey…The topics of human intervention and plant evolution are gracefully intertwined in discussions of coconut trees, date palms, and bristlecone pines, including one 4850-year-old Californian specimen….naturalists and the culinary-inclined will cherish this collection of botanical vignettes.”

“A love letter from a botanist to the plants he studies, written in a breezy and poetic style. Reading this book will give you a whole new appreciation for plants and their many remarkable lifestyles and adaptations. You’ll never look at a blade of grass or a forest of trees the same way again!” –Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh paleontologist and New York Times/Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

An absorbing overview, complemented by beautiful illustrations, THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF PLANTS (Other Press Hardcover; NOTE THE NEW ON-SALE DATE March 24, 2020; Translated by Gregory Conti; watercolors by Grisha Fischer; $24.99), by leading plant neurobiologist and author Stefano Mancuso, renders his years of in-depth research in engaging and accessible prose. Exploring some of the critical issues of our time; humanity’s devastating and ongoing impact on the planets and its plants, and the various theories behind exactly which human events were the first catalyst for climate change, Mancuso takes us on an eye-opening tour through a botanical history, from the polar ice caps to desert lands, desolate islands and ground zero of Hiroshima — all places where plants have thrived. He also laments our relentless pursuit of seedless produce, revealing the hidden dangers behind it: When 99% of bananas produced today are genetically identical, the word’s stock can be devastated with one virus. Arriving ahead of Earth Day (April 22), THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF PLANTS is generating a wave of interest and is well-suited for Michael Pollan readers and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.

THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF PLANTS proves that when we’re able to understand plants as a form of life that’s fundamentally different from animals and its own unique life form, a new and fascinating world opens to us. Plants are more sensitive than animals, capable of communicating, and, contrary to popular belief, very social organisms. While they’re not able to change places over the course of their individual lives, they are able to, from generation to generation, conquer the most distant lands, the most impervious areas, and the regions least hospitable to life, with an incredible tenacity and capacity for adaptation. Plants constantly evolve to find innovative ways to spread their seeds, whether by wind or water, on or in animals (and humans), or even exploding seed pods.


  • How humans saved the avocado from going extinct
  • How the Zone of Alienation around the site of the Chernobyl disaster has become one of the most biologically diverse territories in the former Soviet Union (“It seems humans are much more harmful than radiation”)
  • Why the “invasive species” of today are the native plants of tomorrow
  • The story of August Engelhardt, who started a cult whose followers could only eat coconuts (He died of malnutrition in 1919)
  • The magic of seeds: tiny capsules capable of protecting a living embryo in water, under ice or in a hot desert, without air, nutrients, or shelter, for years
  • The sad tale of the beloved Dodo bird
  • Old Tjikko, which at about 7,000-10,000 years old is the oldest tree in the word
  • The Mammillaria hernandezii, which has the capacity to conserve its seeds and release them into the environment only when conditions are better for germination

About the author: Stefano Mancuso is one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of plant neurobiology, which explores signaling and communication at all levels of biological organization. He is a professor at the University of Florence and has published more than 250 scientific papers in international journals. His previous books include The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior and Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence.

About the translator: Gregory Conti teaches English at the University of Perugia and is a regular contributor to Raritan. His recent translations include “Seven Poems” by Elisa Biagini, The Fault Line by Paolo Rumiz, and A Soldier on the Southern Front by Emilio Lussu.

Praise for The Revolutionary Genius of Plants:

“Thought-provoking…Mancuso considers the fundamental differences between plants and animals and challenges our assumptions about which is the ‘higher’ form of life.” –THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Fascinating…full of optimism…This quick, accessible read will appeal to anyone with an interest in how plants continue to surprise us.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

By Stefano Mancuso
Translated by Gregory Conti
Watercolors by Grisha Fischer
Other Press Hardcover * On sale: March 24, 2020
Price: $24.99 * ISBN: 9781635429916