This major work, first published in 1950, is still considered the classic book on the subject. It provides a comprehensive, critical and well-illustrated survey of the portrayal of plants across over three thousand years, at a more compact size. Of the first edition, the poet and gardening writer, Vita Sackville-West said: "Let no one think this is a book only for the specialist. It is essential for the specialist, certainly, but it is also for all the flower-lovers and all those who enjoy the by-ways of biography and the added attraction of good writing". This edition contains 126 color plates (more than twice as many as the first edition), alongside 140 black-and-white illustrations. It invites the reader to appreciate the works of the greatest botanical illustrators both past and present.