Orchid Fever

"Orchid Fever - A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust & Lunacy" by Eric Hansen 

An incredible book that I most recently borrowed from the local library. There is nothing like a book in hand to dive into, accompanied by a cup of coffee on a sunny Saturday morning. Little did I know that my eyes were about to be opened to a world that I knew nothing of while naively fawning over the orchids in the plant nursery up the road. 

I learned that there is a renowned aphrodisiac ice cream, made from orchid tubers, that is so elastic you can play jump rope with it. There are species of orchid so large they weigh half a ton and collectors have been crushed by them. Then, of course, you have the vanilla bean pod, which is of orchid origin. 

What I wasn't ready for though was the armed raids and the orchid confiscations in the tens of thousands, the subterfuge, the secrecy, the international cross border paperwork that often created catch 22 scenarios for the botanists and those attempting to conserve rare plants from destruction because of land development.  Who would have thought that orchid growers had to tend their plants with Uzi's in hand, or that a certain collector is now in hiding after serving jail time for 'smuggling' $30 worth of plants into the UK? 

What a read... Do yourself a favor, get the book, it's worth a revered spot on your shelves. Eric you're a hero!