Katie's Reviews > Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy

Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen
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's review
Mar 28, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: male-author, non-fiction, nature-outdoors
Read from July 12 to 17, 2010

This book really piqued my interest in orchids and also the culture that surrounds orchids. The author of this book is a journalist who by chance enters the world of orchid growers and collectors and becomes fascinated by what he discovers. He meets with everyone from backyard growers, to makers of orchid ice cream in Turkey, to the officials that make and enforce laws regarding orchid trade.

First of all, as plants, orchids are so interesting. The flowers are so intricate, and the ways different species have evolved to attract insect pollinators is so fascinating.

I also did not realize how crazy the orchid world is, and the conservation laws that are supposedly designed to protect orchids. The author tells stories of growers who have their greenhouses raided by conservation officials with attack dogs because the growers don't have the proper documentation for their plants. The officials confiscate all the rare species of orchids, and because they don't know how to care for them, the orchids die. He tells about orchid collectors who are not permitted to collect orchids even though their habitat is scheduled to be destroyed for development and the orchids are going to die anyway. I suppose I understand the point of conservation laws. You can't just let people go and dig up all the endangered species of plants to sell them, but there has to be a better way to protect endangered species. I could go on and on about all the things in this book that completely fascinated me, but I'll leave it at that.

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