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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.
Living in Fla. and constantly looking at orchids every where this is a must read book! to realize the effort behind the cloning care of the plants etc. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Victor V.
This is an interesting account of the destruction of rare orchids that were collected in Florida for profit The characters were strange and it could have been better written.Published 9 days ago by orchidski
I take pride in finishing books, but could not persevere with this one.Published 10 days ago by Ichabod
This book introduced me to things I never knew. Like the tulip business of old orchards are a hot commodity not just pretty flowers. A good read.Published 11 days ago by Peg's lit
I enjoyed this book as I have been through the "Orchid frenzy" myself and am familiar with many of the growers mentioned. I can't wait to see the movie.Published 11 days ago by Joan F. Cipelle
After reading this book, I feel like I know everything there is to know about orchids!! Never realized that there are orchids "collectors", didn't know orchids can live... Read morePublished 11 days ago by NCLady
I found this book to be too long, with not a whole lot of new information as it dragged on. Although the world of orchids was interesting, the book got boring after awhile.Published 14 days ago by SMR