Finding the Mother Tree
Suzanne Simard

Book cover image

Narrated By: Suzanne Simard

Duration: 12 hours and 14 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

A dazzling scientific detective story from the ecologist who first discovered the hidden language of trees

No one has done more to transform our understanding of trees than the world-renowned scientist Suzanne Simard. Now she shares the secrets of a lifetime spent uncovering startling truths about trees: their cooperation, healing capacity, memory, wisdom and sentience.

Raised in the forests of British Columbia, where her family has lived for generations, Professor Simard did not set out to be a scientist. She was working in the forest service when she first discovered how trees communicate underground through an immense web of fungi, at the centre of which lie the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful entities that nurture their kin and sustain the forest.

Though her ground-breaking findings were initially dismissed and even ridiculed, they are now firmly supported by the data. As her remarkable journey shows us, science is not a realm apart from ordinary life, but deeply connected with our humanity.

In Finding the Mother Tree, she reveals how the complex cycle of forest life - on which we rely for our existence - offers profound lessons about resilience and kinship, and must be preserved before it's too late.

© Suzanne Simard 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Genre

Botany and plant sciences, Trees, wildflowers and plants: general interest, Popular science, Applied ecology

Listen to a sample

A scientific memoir as gripping as any HBO drama series... Just as she disinters earthy mushrooms and the finest of filaments, so she lays bare the human heart with moving simplicity... It is her gallant mission in the book and in her life - and one essential to combating the climate crisis - to make science more humanly engaged

Observer

Finding the Mother Tree is the kind of story we need to be telling, a new way of communicating that the world desperately needs to hear... A reminder to listen to our wilder selves, and to remember, with humility, how little we know of the complexities of the natural world

Guardian

This book is a testament to Simard's skill as a science communicator. Her research is clearly defined, the steps of her experiments articulated, her astonishing results explained and the implications laid bare: We ignore the complexity of forests at our peril

The New York Times

A masterwork of planetary significance

Booklist (starred review)

Finding the Mother Tree has come at a crucial moment... With biodiversity on a knife edge, the need to appreciate and understand the complexity and brilliance of the natural world could not be more important

Financial Times

Vivid and inspiring... a radical new understanding of plants

Wall Street Journal

Speaking with Simard felt like coming to the headwaters of a vast system of ideas, both innovative and ancient... To read Finding the Mother Tree is to imagine the view from a 250-foot redwood. The recognition that we're all connected is one of the great gifts of the memoir

Los Angeles Times

[Suzanne Simard] forever transformed our views of the world and the interconnectivity of our environment. Finding the Mother Tree is not only a deeply beautiful memoir about one woman's impactful life, it's also a call to action to protect, understand and connect with the natural world

Amy Adams

A vivid and compelling memoir of [Simard's] lifelong quest to prove that the forest is more than just a collection of trees

The New York Times

The moving and remarkable story of one of the greatest ecological discoveries of our time. Writing with humility and passion, Suzanne Simard's unravelling of the secret life of trees is changing the scientific mindset. Finding the Mother Tree is a crucial step towards healing our planet

Isabella Tree, author of Wilding and The Living Goddess

Few scientists make much impact with their PhD thesis, but, in 1997, Suzanne Simard did just that ... What was then a challenge to orthodox ideas is today widely accepted

New Scientist

Finding the Mother Tree is a rare and moving book - part charming memoir, part crash course in forest ecology. And yet, it manages to be about the things that matter most: the ways we care for each other, fail each other and listen to each other. After the last year and a half, its lessons about motherhood, connection and the natural world are more timely than ever

Jake Gyllenhaal

Few researchers have had the pop culture impact of Suzanne Simard

Scientific American

The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story... These are stories that the world needs to hear

Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass

Suzanne Simard has a completely beguiling way of writing. I love how she combines brilliant scientific explanation with emotion and feeling

Patrick Barkham, author of Wild Child and The Butterfly Isles

Suzanne Simard is a total legend - someone who transformed the world in the way of James Lovelock, or Lynn Margulis

Rowan Hooper

Revolutionary on both the scientific and the spiritual level. It is so extraordinary that it is, frankly, hard to believe - until you see the data, the science, the rigour, and the many independent affirmations of her findings... Simard is one of [Nature's] most insightful and eloquent translators