Cover image for The plant hunters : two hundred years of adventure and discovery around the world
The plant hunters : two hundred years of adventure and discovery around the world
Musgrave, Toby.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Ward Lock ; New York, NY : Distributed in the U.S. by Sterling Pub. Co., [1998]

Physical Description:
224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QK26 .M87 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is the story of the men who discovered and brought back a wealth of exotic new plants. Journeying through remote and beautiful lands, often in great peril, they collected the plants that shaped western garden design for 200 years. The stories are illustrated with portraits, photographs and maps.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The authors chronicle the journeys of 10 famous plant hunters, from the eighteenth century to the last of the professionals, Frank Kingdon-Ward (1885-1958), who gathered plants in the remotest corners of Burma, Tibet, and Assam on 22 trips spanning 45 years. Others include Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who circumnavigated the globe aboard the Endeavour with Captain Cook; David Douglas (1799-1834), who walked more than 9,000 miles across North America and is credited with introducing more than 200 new species; and George Forrest (1873-1932), who spent 28 years hunting plants in western China and collected more than 300 new species of rhododendrons. With each biographic sketch is a map of the plant hunter's travels and a list of plant introductions. There are 90 pages in color and 15 black-and-white illustrations. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0706377532George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ever wonder how flowers from all over the world ended up in the same modern gardens? The plant hunters are the answer: Sir Joseph Banks, "the father of modern plant hunting," circled the globe with Captain Cook, bringing back rubescent evergreens from Tierra del Fuego and tall, "swordlike, leathery" New Zealand flax. From Kew Gardens in 18th-century London, Banks set up "a systematic, worldwide plant hunting program" that brought 7000 species of plants into habitats they would never have reached. Banks's prot‚g‚ Francis Masson toted the belladona lily and the cycad from South Africa to London. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker introduced rhododendrons from the Himalayas, thereby shaping British gardening throughout the 1860s. And George Forrest endured civil war and mountain hardships in his treks across Yunnan, China, bringing back for his pains the spectacular scarlet Primula and a star-shaped gentian with the deep blue tint of outer space. The authors devote a chapter to each of these men, and five other admiring chapters to other explorers, showing what each famous plant hunter underwent to bring prize flora to Britain, and what effect each hunter's discoveries had on British landscaping and gardening. In the spirit of the Victorian amateur, this book doesn't address such questions as whether these exciting exotics damaged the ecosystems to which plant hunters brought them, or what these finds contributed to fields other than landscape gardening. It offers, instead, stories of daring explorers alongside beautiful pictures of plants and of the spectacular landscapes from which these men fetched back the stems and flowers that gardeners love so well. 90 color, 15 b&w illustrations. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved