Chasing Plants: Journeys with a Botanist Through Rainforests, Swamps, and Mountains

Univ. of Chicago. Sept. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780226823539. $27.50. AGRI
Botanist, artist, and self-proclaimed “plant nerd” Thorogood (plant sciences, Univ. of Oxford; Weird Plants) has traveled around the world, from an Ikea parking lot in Britain to dodging a volcanic eruption in Japan to the botanical wonders of Borneo. Taken from the author’s personal journal entries, this book focuses on the thrilling adventures of finding elusive plants, not the scientific explanations of their significance. The title lacks a linear plot, allowing readers to decide which passages to read without missing crucial information. The narrative is simply about the joy of the chase. Thorogood’s detailed illustrations punctuate the story as well: black-and-white sketches and detailed oil paintings of both flora and humans. The end notes include information on Thorogood’s painting process.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy travel narratives will like reading about incredible places that many will never see; they might be frustrated, however, when Thorogood says that some things can’t be described. For plant nerds seeking adventure.
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