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Psychoactive Plants Bibliography

Note: book cover sizes in the list below are shown relative to each other. The list is organized by primary author. Some out-of-copyright books are available free at the supplied links.

The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications

Author(s): Rätsch, Cristian

Publisher: Park Street Press, 1998

ISBN: 978-0892819782

View at: Barnes & Noble, or Amazon

Comments: Amazing. You can almost count on one hand the number of botanical books that are absolutely authoritative about their subject area, and this is one of them. There are some 400 species of psychoactive plants, not the 25 or so that I might have guessed. This volume describes their identification, native uses, distribution, psychoactive ingredients, preparation and dosage, etc., with comprehensive thoroughness and extensive photographs and illustrations. In addition to covering its subject matter well, this book is a masterpiece of graphic design, one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. Descriptions are readable for amateurs, but detailed enough to appeal to pros as well. If the subject interests you, this is the book to have. 942 pages.


Dangerous Garden: the Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives

Author(s): Stuart, David

Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2004

ISBN: 978-0674011045

View at: Barnes & Noble, or Amazon

Comments: If you are curious about the ways in which plants have been used, both successfully and catastrophically, for medicinal or recreational purposes, you'll really enjoy this book. Paradoxically, the most toxic plants are among the first to attract attention for medical experimentation, among both quacks and serious researchers. This book is richly illustrated and very well written. It is not a guide to identification.

The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms: How to Identify More than 300 Toxic Plants and Mushrooms Found in Homes, Gardens, and Open Spaces

Author(s): Turner, Nancy J.; von Aderkas, Patrick

Publisher: Timber Press, 2009

ISBN: 978-0881929294

View at: Amazon

Comments: It isn't often when an academic treatise is approachable enough to read from cover to cover, but I found that to be the case here. The authors cover mushrooms in detail, as well as other plants. They include coverage for some molds, some toxic algae, lichens, ferns—about 300 species in all. Descriptions for identifying these species are thorough, often accompanied by photos. They also describe symptoms, toxic agents, and treatment protocols. The discussion encompasses not only human poisoning, but plants that are toxic to pets and livestock. This is a very useful addition to any forager's library, as well as a helpful tool to those who treat victims of poisoning. 375 pages.

North America