Greed! Obsession! A passion for nature and travel! All these and more have driven intrepid explorers to search for exotic plants around the globe for centuries.
Most of these hunters have been altruistic professionals seeking valuable plants to advance the cause of science and medicine or to improve their nations’ economy with potential commercial crops. In their pursuit many experienced serious illness and injury, extremes of harsh weather and terrain in remote locales, not to mention encounters with dangerous animals, insects and fellow humans. Yet the thrill of the chase, the love of adventure and the outdoors and the tantalizing belief that the objects of their desire indeed lay at the end of their arduous journeys spurred these men and women on, despite the challenges. Some didn’t survive the trip home. Today searches continue so that scientists may catalog Earth’s biodiversity and develop massive seed stockpiles against any future catastrophic destruction of plant life. The slim, engaging narrative paints vivid portraits of these botanic adventurers. It is smoothly written, smartly paced and filled with exciting tales of risk taking and derring-do. Handsome visuals include contemporary maps, photographs, sketches, paintings and excellent botanic illustrations.
Who could have imagined that something as seemingly ordinary as a plant could incite such ardor and devotion? (timeline, author’s note, notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)