The Orchid Thief

A True Story of Beauty and Obsession

Recommended by Catherine Manegold, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #27 in Botany, Ranked #43 in Horticulturesee more rankings.

The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.
In this new edition, coming...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Orchid Thief from the world's leading experts.

Catherine Manegold Yes, this is such a fun book, all about obsession, history and botany. To a limited extent it also engages with the author’s internal experience as she acknowledges the envy she feels for people graced with this level of attachment to the world. To do this, she looks back in history – tracing the earliest orchid hunters to their roots, if you will – and then drifts among contemporary collectors who are certainly an odd and often fanatical bunch. In terms of content, this book falls almost perfectly between the first and second. It has a ton of factual material and is hugely instructive, like... (Source)

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