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The Orchid Thief centers on south Florida and John Laroche, a quixotic, charismatic schemer once convicted of attempting to take endangered orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp, a state preserve. Laroche, a horticultural consultant who once ran an extensive nursery for the Seminole tribe, dreams of making a fortune for the Seminoles and himself by cloning the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii. Laroche sums up the obsession that drives him and so many others:
I really have to watch myself, especially around plants. Even now, just being here, I still get that collector feeling. You know what I mean. I'll see something and then suddenly I get that feeling. It's like I can't just have something--I have to have it and learn about it and grow it and sell it and master it and have a million of it.Even Orlean--so leery of orchid fever that she immediately gives away any plant that's pressed upon her by the growers in Laroche's circle--develops a desire to see a ghost orchid blooming and makes several ultimately unsuccessful treks into the Fakahatchee. Filled with Palm Beach socialites, Native Americans, English peers, smugglers, and naturalists as improbably colorful as the tropical blossoms that inspire them, this is a lyrical, funny, addictively entertaining read. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Read this one-of-a-kind book and then watch the film, Adaptation, which is based on the book but has a real twist.
Aside from LaRoche I enjoyed learning about some other historic orchid collectors and the history of orchid collecting around the world.
From that standpoint, this is a book that will hold your interest although there is too much "me" in the book.
As a native Floridian, I appreciate that Orlean attempted to capture our spirit, but I feel she was condescending at times. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Kristen
Orlean is a fine writer and the subject is quite interesting.Published 1 month ago by Charles T. DeShong
I've long intended to read this book and was not disappointed. In The Orchid Thief, Orlean juxtaposes quirky characters with science and nature using rich and unforced language. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Denise Woodhouse
Fascinating history of the Orchid. Just have to overlook a little language problem. UWF keeps a copy in the Botany SectionPublished 2 months ago by Laverna C. Cox
Weirdest book I have ever read and I only read it because it was required for an English class.Published 3 months ago by Emily Parker
Very interesting & informative read. Enjoyable true story full of lively characters. An unexpected pleasure in the world of orchidsPublished 3 months ago by msc
I loved this book and wanted a copy of my own to loan out. This copy is in good shape and was incredibly cheap.
Thank you very much.
Very unusual book. Great reading for fans of orchids and Florida. I'm both!Published 4 months ago by Robert
The author goes a little too much into the history of past orchid collectors but the book was interesting, the issues concerning the Native Americans and the law were interesting... Read morePublished 4 months ago by kathryn long