Flower Hunters by John Gribbin

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Synopsis

The flower hunters were intrepid explorers - remarkable, eccentric men and women who scoured the world in search of extraordinary plants from the middle of the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, and helped establish the new science of botany. For these adventurers, the search for new, undiscovered plant specimens was something worth risking - and often losing - their lives for.

From the Douglas-fir and the monkey puzzle tree, to exotic orchids and azaleas, many of the plants that are now so familiar to us were found in distant regions of the globe, often in wild and unexplored country, in impenetrable jungle, and in the face of hunger, disease, and hostile locals. It was specimens like these, smuggled home by the flower hunters, that helped build the great botanical collections, and lay the foundations for the revolution in our understanding of the natural world that was to follow. Here, the adventures of eleven such explorers are brought to life, describing not only their extraordinary daring and dedication, but also the lasting impact of their discoveries both on science, and on the landscapes and gardens that we see today.
 

About John Gribbin

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Mary Gribbin and John Gribbin are among the best-known current popular science writers. Together, they have written many acclaimed books, including Ice Age, FitzRoy, Stardust, and Big Numbers. Mary is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with a special interest in plants and exploration. John is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and the author of books including The Universe: A Biography, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, and Science: A History.
 
Published April 15, 2008 by Oxford University Press. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Awarded the Star of India for his work, Hooker wrote happily that he felt this was recognition “of hard work under difficulties, of obstacles overcome, and of brilliant deeds.” This description applies equally well to Marianne North’s astonishing travels to almost every continent and countless re...

Apr 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Flower Hunters

Monsters and Critics

Fascinating - trips to the garden centre will never be the same again.

Dec 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Flower Hunters

Monsters and Critics

The flower hunters were intrepid explorers - remarkable, eccentric men and women who scoured the world in search of extraordinary plants from the middle of the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, and helped establish the new science of botany.

Dec 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Flower Hunters

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