The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World

The Plant Hunters

The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World


Published: March 1 1999

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0706377538

There are so many wonderful plants that gardeners enjoy and admire at home as well as in famous gardens and parks. But how many of us know the origins of these plants or how they came to be here? Most of them, if not indigenous to our location, were brought here by plant collectors or “Hunters” from around the world.

Collected from nearly every continent on the planet by botanical/horticulturists that, far from being ‘airy fairy pansy lovers’, were intrepid, adventurous and daring folk, the Indiana Joneses of the plant world:

Sir Joseph Banks aboard the Endeavor
David Douglas and the (re)discovery of the Giant Sequoia
Frank Kingdom-Ward who in between his plant hunting career served during WWII in special operations Burma and was later, because of his extensive knowledge of the area, hired by the US government to search for US planes downed by bad weather flying over “The Hump”, the mountainous area between India and China.

The book covers the stories of nearly a dozen individuals, most of it reads like the script from an action adventure movie. Stories such as; “…the explorer who found over 300 rhododendron species and was one of only two survivors of a party attacked in a rebellious uprising (in south eastern Tibet) and had an escape worthy of a member of special forces” or how; “…the man responsible for establishing the tea industry in India singlehandedly fought a gun battle with pirates while running a high fever”. And even how; “…The discovery of the Himalayan rhododendrons resulted in a kingdom being annexed into the British empire”.

All this and so much more are to be found in this fascinating, entertaining and educational book that can only add to our knowledge and appreciation of so many of the worlds plants that we so often take for granted.

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