Ceradenia-Sacksii "Sacks' waxy-gland fern

A Botanical End-of-Year Message From the Sacks Team

Hello friends,

Dr. Sacks would be thrilled to know that a newly identified species of fern has been named Ceradenia sacksii, “Sacks’ waxy-gland fern” by botanist Michael Sundue. This is a tremendous honor—thank you, Michael!

Photo by Michael Sundue.
Sundue, a member of the American Fern Society, features in Sacks’s essay “Botanists on Park,” a chapter in Everything in Its Place. Elsewhere in that book, Dr. Sacks describes his love for nature. “I have seen in my patients,” he writes, “the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.” As a writer, he found gardens essential to the creative process. And so, we dedicate this year-end newsletter to a number of books by wonderful botanist-writers.
If you haven’t yet discovered the books of William Bryant Logan, you are in for a treat that will nourish your spirit. Try Oak: The Frame of CivilizationAir: The Restless Shaper of the WorldDirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, or his new book, Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees.

Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, says: “William Bryant Logan’s vision of a world in which humans and trees work together to mutual benefit — a world that has existed in the past and can exist again in the future — is cause for deep joy, for celebration and hope.”

We also love Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, which has drawn kudos from Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Krista Tippett. Publishers Weekly calls her a mesmerizing storyteller, who “shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live.”
Did you know that Oliver Sacks dedicated a whole book to ferns and botany? Oaxaca Journal is his ode to ferns: an ancient class of plants able to survive and adapt in many climates. Along with a group of fellow fern aficionados, he embarks on an exploration of southern Mexico, a region also rich in human history and culture. In his account of their travels, he muses on the origins of chocolate and mescal, pre-Columbian culture and hallucinogens, and the peculiar passions of botanists.
Our friends at Book Post write, “This splendidly nerdy cohort is nothing if not inclusive, their one adhesive being a resounding passion for the fern; knowledge and discovery are for them a revelatory joy rather than a field of competition.”

Trying to reduce your gift-giving footprint? Please consider donating to your favorite environmental causes in honor of a friend or loved one. There are thousands of organizations helping to make a sustainable Earth. Some of these work internationally, like Conservation InternationalFriends of the Earth350.orgNRDC, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club—while others focus on local action. All of them need our support now more than ever.

Wishing you the peace of nature and the warmth of friends during this holiday season,

The Sacks Team