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BOTANICAL SHAKESPEARE begins with a brief look at Shakespeare’s world and the flowering of ‘green desire’. The author and artist reveal Shakespeare’s keen awareness of botany alongside his unparalleled ability to catapult nature into the land of emotion and metaphor, creating some of the world’s most unforgettable passages. Quealy and Hasegawa provide portraits of the over 170 flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, trees, herbs, seeds and vegetables that are named in Shakespeare’s poems and plays alongside all the lines in which they appear—something never before done. BOTANICAL SHAKESPEARE’s evocative color illustrations are further enhanced by identification of the specific work in which each line appears, as well as the character who says it. The elegant typefaces and meticulous arrangement of plants and quotes throughout the book mirror the richness of Shakespeare’s writing.


This compendium also includes a dictionary revealing unique aspects of each plant—such as Eglantine, a wild rose with a slight prickle, beloved for its singular scent superior to any other rose, or why in some cases, actually seeing the plant crystalizes the line. Plus, several long-standing Shakespeare botanical mysteries are reexamined, and even solved.

The 4 Secrets / “discoveries” in Botanical Shakespeare

  • The truth about Peonies

  • What’s the poison in Hamlet?

  • Medlar & the “fruit” epithet

  • *A 400-year-old mistake about the Caraway corrected!*


Ms. Quealy also discovered that the rose quotes from all 8 War of the Roses plays tell the whole story of the War of the Roses so she and British director Jenny Eastop have fashioned a 10-minute play with them. 


BOTANICAL SHAKESPEARE is perfect for nature lovers, Shakespeare enthusiasts, passionate gardeners, quote connoisseurs, and those looking for a thoughtful and unique Mother’s Day gift, this book offers depth and insight into Shakespeare and his timeless art through the distinct perspective of the plants he venerated.

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