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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.
This is a great book. Easy to read and so in formative on the history of orchids. I grew up on Florida but this is a party of Florida I didn't know about. Read morePublished 17 days ago by antoinette
I used to live in Florida. Never knew about orchids. SO I also got the movie with Nick Cage. Interesting piece of Florida history.Published 21 days ago by Seasoned Citizen
Almost offensively advertised in bookstores, yet I was not intrigued until I saw the film Adaptation, and then I dared to take a peek. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ada Ardor
Quirky is the word I would use to describe this book. The main character is quite unusual and the author has a way of telling his story that is quite different than anything I have... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cilla
If you want to read an in-depth history of Florida then it is probably ok. But, the book went on and on and on steeped in minutia to the point that I skipped almost entire... Read morePublished 2 months ago by dennis newman sr
This is an interesting book. It doesn't have a gripping story line, the reader is not on the edge of his/her seat waiting to see what happens, but the history of orchid hunting is... Read morePublished 2 months ago by B Steeve
Great read, enthralling look into the underbelly of the orchid world. Eye opening. Emphasis on early orchid hunters and explorers and the Florida environments that foster both the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Megan