Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy

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Pantheon Books, 2000 - Nursery growers - 272 pages
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A seductive journey into the obsessive, outrageous, and mesmerizing world of orchids.
From the steaming jungles of Borneo to the hallowed hallways of Kew Gardens, from the clandestine orchid nurseries of Europe to the peat bogs of northern Minnesota, here are luscious, sexy flowers, orchid smugglers, fist-fighting botanists, moths with twelve-inch-long tongues, and government officials who raid orchid nurseries with attack dogs and automatic weapons. Strange tales of insect pollinator fidelity, the orchid ice cream makers of eastern Turkey, and man-crushing killer orchids weighing half a ton are blended with stories about a wide range of gentle people whose passion in life is the creation of scented, fragile flowers.
Eric Hansen spent seven years exploring the far corners of the earth -- marveling at flowers of uncommon beauty, studying the history of the orchid trade, and grappling with the vicious, bizarre, and petty world of plant politics that sometimes makes it impossible to protect endangered species. Hansen brings to life the colorful flowers and the even more colorful people who are attracted to them, as he illuminates a funny, weird, and poignant world of horticultural passion and pathos.

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Orchid fever: a horticultural tale of love, lust, and lunacy

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Travel writer Hansen profiles botanists, plant smugglers, hobbyists, nurserymen, and others whose lives are devoted to orchids. His title is somewhat misleading: although the subjects depicted are all ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Eric Hansen now lives in San Francisco, but over the last twenty-five years he has traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Nepal, and Southeast Asia. His articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, Natural History Magazine, GEO, and Amica. He is also the author of two highly acclaimed books: Stranger in the Forest and Motoring with Mohammed (available in paperback from Vintage Books). He can be reached at ekhansen@ix.netcom.com.

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