"The Sex Life of Flowers" by Bastiaan Meeuse and Sean Morris (Facts On File: $19.95) at last brings us the real story of the birds and the bees, and so seductively that one can easily see how outraged 17th-Century Europe had to be at the first revelations of such goings-on. Based on PBS' "Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind," this beautifully put-together volume offers luminous photos along with illuminating prose in anything but prosaic style. Chapters on the evolution of plant sex and taboos against incest are among the most intriguing. Flowers with enchanting colors, shapes and scents did not materialize by accident--the how and why of stamen and anthers in all their many guises here prove far more fascinating than the latest amorous turn of affairs on "Dynasty."

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