Stephen Joseph's stunning images present, for the very first time, a recreation of John Muir's herbaria. Here are plants collected over a century ago by the naturalist considered by many to be America's first environmentalist. Muir was blessed early on with a love and aptitude for botany, a study that helped him become one of the most influential field scientists in the world. Botany was for Muir a means of making sense of the natural world, and it would significantly contribute to the value he placed on nature and the wilderness.

In Nature's Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir's Botanical Legacy, environmental historian Bonnie Gisel explores Muir's life. She traveled across the U.S. in search of the plant specimens Muir mentioned in his writings. These samples were brought to life by Stephen Joseph's carefully prepared and artistically composed photos. Together they show us the landscape Muir saw, documenting the discovery of his North American herbarium.

View slide show of restored botanical samples

Editor's Note: For more information, this book will be reviewed in the December 2008 issue of
Scientific American.