In the summer after leaving school, a young botanist sets out to fulfil a childhood dream - to find every species of orchid native to the British Isles... He has just a few months to complete his quest - no one has ever done it before - and it will require ingenuity, stamina and a large dose of luck. Like Two Owls at Eton and My Family and Other Animals, this is a charming, witty account of a precocious adolescent's obsession with the natural world. As he battles the vagaries of the British climate in his clapped-out van, feverishly chasing each emerging bloom, Leif Bersweden takes the reader on a remarkable botanical journey. This study of the 52 native species is a fantastic gateway into the compendious world of orchids - one that will open your eyes to the rare hidden delights to be found on hilltops and riverbanks, in woodland, marsh and field.
In the summer after leaving school, a young botanist sets out to fulfill a childhood dream--to find every species of orchid native to the British Isles. He has just a few months to complete his quest, which no one has ever done before within one growing season, and it will require ingenuity, stamina and a large dose of luck. As he battles the vagaries of the British climate, feverishly chasing each emerging bloom, Leif Bersweden takes the reader on a remarkable botanical journey. This study of the 52 native species is a fantastic gateway into the compendious world of orchids, and one that will open your eyes to the rare hidden delights to be found on our doorstep. Includes an essential guide to finding all 52 British orchids.
Author: Jon Dunn
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2018-03-08
A heady celebration of the beauty and history of the wild orchid species of the British Isles, embraced in one glorious and kaleidoscopic summer-long hunt by naturalist Jon Dunn From the chalk downs of the south coast of England to the heathery moorland of the Shetland Isles, and from the holy island of Lindisfarne in the east to the Atlantic frontier of western Ireland, Orchid Summer is a journey into Britain and Ireland's most beautiful corners. The flowers that are the focus of this treasure hunt are exquisite and diverse. Some resemble insects and develop scents that mimic the smell of a virgin female wasp in order to lure male wasps to sample their unsatisfying charms. Some tower above the surrounding vegetation; others are vanishingly small and discrete. Some are sweetly scented; others smell of ripe billy goats. Some can be readily found but some will prove more elusive – none more so than the last to flower, the rarest of them all, the ghost orchid… Capturing the intoxicating beauty of these rare and charismatic flowers, Orchid Summer is also an exploration of their history, their champions, their place in our landscape and the threats they face. Combining infectious enthusiasm and a painterly eye with a deep knowledge that comes from a lifetime's passionate devotion to their study, Dunn sweeps us up on his adventure, one from which it is impossible not to emerge enchanted and enriched.
Author: Paul Winder
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2011-03-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The Darién Gap is a place of legend. The only break in the Pan-American highway, which runs from Alaska to the tip of South America, it is an almost impregnable strip of swamp, jungle and cloud forest between the vast landmasses of North and South America. Stories of abduction and murder there are rife and in recent years more people have successfully climbed Everest or trekked to the South Pole than have crossed the Darién Gap. In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist, set off to Central America with one thing on his mind: orchids. He knew that in order to find the rare and beautiful species he so fervently admired, he would have to visit some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Unbeknown to Tom, another young explorer, Paul Winder, was backpacking through the area at the same time. Though he sometimes worked freelance in the City of London, Paul was a fearless and intrepid traveller, happier scaling volcanoes than lounging on beaches. In every bar and café along his route, rumours abounded of the Darién Gap - and the more he heard, the greater became his desire to make the journey. Pure chance brought Paul and Tom together in northern Mexico; they formed an instant bond and their fate was sealed. Ignoring a final, succinct warning from the Lonely Planet guide - 'Don't even think about it!' - Tom and Paul set off into the Darién: Tom in search of orchids, Paul in search of adventure. They would find plenty of each. For six days they made good progress. Then, just hours away from Colombia, the dream ended and the horror began. Paul and Tom were ambushed by FARC guerrillas who were to hold them hostage for the next nine months. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinary endurance, incredible ingenuity and not a little good luck ...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion. In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the “orchid thief,” Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Praise for The Orchid Thief “Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean’s] gifts in full bloom.”—The New York Times Book Review “Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing.”—Los Angeles Times “Orlean’s snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures.”—The Washington Post Book World “Orlean’s gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description.”—Boston Sunday Globe “A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”—The Wall Street Journal From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Joel L. Schiff
Release Date: 2017-12-08
Comprising some 28,000 different species, orchids are by far the largest flowering plant family on Earth. Every year, new species are being uncovered in the wild or created by humans, and so this number has only continued to blossom. This book is intended for those who wish to learn about the multifaceted nature of this amazing plant. It covers many different aspects of orchid study, from its cultural history to its evolutionary development and from its first discoveries to ongoing scientific research. No matter your specialty or level of orchid expertise, you can find in this book new and fascinating facts and stories that will make you gasp, laugh, and read on. Through the many exotic and beautiful pictures permeating these pages, you will come to know something of the infinite diversity of this plant family and at last learn why so many orchid growers and fanatics have embarked on this same endless path.
Author: Mary Gribbin
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2008
This fascinating account of eleven remarkable, eccentric, dedicated, and sometimes obsessive individuals that established the science of botany brings to life these extraordinary adventurers and draws out the scientific and cultural value of their work and its legacy.
Author: Michelle Wan
Publisher: Seal Books
Release Date: 2010-04-30
The first in a new mystery series that has it all — a tragic puzzle, fabulous French food, and a peek into the fascinating world of wild orchids. In 1984, a young Canadian woman vanished while on a hiking holiday in the Dordogne region of France. Was Bedie Dunn the victim of an accident? Or could she have been murdered? Haunted for years by the disappearance of her twin sister, Mara Dunn has moved to France to try to answer these questions. Mara’s amateur investigations finally begin to show progress when she discovers a camera she is convinced belonged to Bedie in a second-hand store. In it is an old roll of film, whose exposures turn out to be mostly of wild terrestial orchids. Mara turns to Julian Wood, an expatriate English orchidologist, for help with the impossible: can they use two-decade-old photos of flowers to trace Bedie’s last route, and find the end of her journey? Julian is reluctant to get drawn into this seemingly hopeless quest, but the last exposure on the film is irresistible to him — an unknown species of Lady’s Slipper Orchid. If discovered, it might be the key to botanical fame — or it could be the marker to a shallow grave. From the Hardcover edition.
Driven by an all-consuming passion, the plant hunters traveled around the world, facing challenges at every turn: tropical illnesses, extreme terrain, and dangerous animals. They battled piranhas, tigers, and vampire bats. Even the plants themselves could be lethal! But these intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century explorers were determined to find and collect new and unusual specimens, no matter what the cost. Then they tried to transport the plants—and themselves—home alive. Creating an important legacy in science, medicine, and agriculture, the plant hunters still inspire the scientific and environmental work of contemporary plant enthusiasts. Working from primary sources—journals, letters, and notes from the field—Anita Silvey introduces us to these daring adventurers and scientists. She takes readers into the heart of their expeditions to then-uncharted places such as the Amazon basin, China, and India. As she brings a colorful cast of characters to life, she shows what motivated these Indiana Jones–type heroes. In The Plant Hunters, science, history, and adventure have been interwoven to tell a largely forgotten—yet fascinating—story.
The orchid family is one of the largest plant families in the world, reaching its highest diversity in the tropics where their exotic and colourful flowers are often truly breathtaking. Britain and Ireland have just 52 species of wild orchid, some of which are rare or scarce, whilst others are surprisingly inconspicuous. Yet, whether large or small, all orchids share flamboyant flower structures and incredible beauty. This pocket guide allows the identification of all species of orchid in the British Isles. It has concise text highlighting ID criteria as well as notes on biology, habitat and conservation, along with stunning colour photographs and accurate range maps based on maps compiled by the Biological Record Centre. This book provides the perfect guide to these beautiful and evocative plants, and is a must for any field naturalist.
An impassioned memoir of saving extraordinary plants on the brink of extinction, by a scientist who has been called a "codebreaker" (Telegraph) and "an inspiration" (Jane Goodall) Carlos Magdalena is not your average horticulturist. He's a man on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. First captivated by the flora of his native Spain, he has travelled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting plants from man-made ecological destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. In The Plant Messiah, Magdalena takes readers from the Amazon to the jungles of Mauritius to deep within the Australian Outback in search of the rare and the vulnerable. Back in the lab, we watch as he develops groundbreaking, left-field techniques for rescuing species from extinction, encouraging them to propagate and thrive once again. Along the way, he offers moving, heartfelt stories about the secrets contained within these incredible organisms. Passionate and absorbing, The Plant Messiah is a tribute to the diversity of life on our planet, and the importance of preserving it. *Featuring 16 pages of color photos*
Author: Peter Marren
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2018-03-15
Join renowned naturalist Peter Marren on an exciting quest to see every species of wild plant native to Britain. The mysterious Ghost Orchid blooms in near darkness among rotting leaves on the forest floor. It blends into the background to the point of invisibility, yet glows, pale and ghostly. The ultimate grail of flower hunters, it has been spotted only once in the past twenty-five years. Its few flowers have a deathly pallor and are said to smell of over-ripe bananas. Peter Marren has been a devoted flower finder all his life. While the Ghost Orchid offers the toughest challenge of any wild plant, there were fifty more British species Peter had yet to see, having ticked off the first 1,400 rummaging in hedges, slipping down gullies and peering in peat bogs. But he set himself the goal of finding the remaining fifty in a single summer. As it turned out, the wettest summer in years. This expert and emotional journey takes Peter the length and the breadth of the British Isles, from the dripping ancient woods of the New Forest to the storm-lashed cliffs of Sutherland. He paddles in lakes, clambers up cliffs in mist and rain, and walks several hundred miles, but does he manage to find them all? Partly about plants, partly autobiography, Chasing the Ghost is also a reminder that to engage with wild flowers, all we need to do is look around us and enjoy what we see. Praise for Rainbow Dust: ‘Beautifully written and thoroughly researched... a truly marvellous book’ Telegraph ‘A scholarly and captivating excursion into the history of natural history’ Independent
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2013-10-01
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE From the moment Alma Whittaker steps into the world, everything about life intrigues her. Instilled with an unquenchable sense of wonder by her father, a botanical explorer and the richest man in the New World, Alma is raised in a house of luxury and curiosity. It is not long before she becomes a gifted botanist in her own right. But as she flourishes and her research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction ? into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. The Signature of All Things soars across the globe of the nineteenth century, from London and Peru, to Philadelphia, Tahiti and beyond. Peopled with extraordinary characters along the way, most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker.
"Identifying trees in winter without their familiar leaves can appear a daunting challenge, but a closer look will reveal a multitude of slowly swelling buds. A quick glance at the bud summary photos in Winter Trees instantly reveals their sheer diversity. Generally they are extremely varied, and often easy to learn and remember. When you consider the difference between types of bark, size of tree and habitat, identification starts to become much easier than it seemed at first."--P.  of cover.