A prize-winning memoirist and nature writer turns to the lives of plants entangled in our human world to explore belonging, displacement, identity, and the truths of our shared future
A seed slips beyond a garden wall. A tree is planted on a precarious border. A shrub is stolen from its culture and its land. What happens when these plants leave their original homes and put down roots elsewhere?
In fourteen essays, Dispersals explores the entanglements of the plant and human worlds: from species considered invasive, like giant hogweed; to those vilified but intimate, like soy; and those like kelp, on which our futures depend. Each of the plants considered in this collection are somehow perceived as being ‘out of place’—weeds, samples collected through imperial science, crops introduced and transformed by our hand. Combining memoir, history, and scientific research in poetic prose, Jessica J. Lee meditates on the question of how both plants and people come to belong, why both cross borders, and how our futures are more entwined than we might imagine.