The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth
by Anita Silvey
Driven by an all-consuming passion, plant hunters such as Frank Meyer, Joseph Rock, and Ernest Henry Wilson traveled the world, facing challenges at every turn: tropical illnesses, extreme terrain, and dangerous animals. Even the plants could be lethal! But these intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century explorers were determined to find and collect new and unusual specimens despite the costs, and then endeavored 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 material from Arnold Arboretum’s Archive Collection—Anita Silvey introduces readers of all ages 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–like heroes. In The Plant Hunters, science, history, and adventure weave together to tell a largely forgotten—yet fascinating—story.
The Plant Hunters is included in our New Books List for June 4, 2012.