Book: Extraordinary Leaves

Extraordinary photography of 'Extraordinary Leaves' makes for a beautiful coffee-table book by master photographer Stephen Green-Armitage and horticulturalist David Schrader.

Extraordinary photography of ‘Extraordinary Leaves’ makes for a beautiful coffee-table book

Patterned or puckered leaves like those on the crocodile fern (Microsorium musifolium ‘Crocodyllus’; pictured left) naturally draw our eyes. Variegated leaves occur in every genus and species, sometimes as the result of disease, such as mosaic viruses, and sometimes due to a chance mutation that some gardener long ago thought beautiful enough to encourage.

White, cream or yellow markings likely mean these portions of the leaf are unable to produce chlorophyll, and the surrounding greener tissue is working harder to compensate. This is why variegated plants are sometimes weaker, slower growing or pest prone.

Photographer Stephen Green-Armitage compiled hundreds of close-up images like this for the beautiful coffee-table book, Extraordinary Leaves, published by Firefly; nursery-owner and horticulturalist David Schrader provides interesting anecdotes and commentary.