The Plant Hunters (Hardcover)

True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth

By Anita Silvey

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374309084, 96pp.

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

List Price: 21.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Driven by an all-consuming passion, the plant hunters traveled around the world, facing challenges at every turn: tropical illnesses, extreme terrain, and dangerous animals. They battled piranhas, tigers, and vampire bats. Even the plants themselves could be lethal! But these intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century explorers were determined to find and collect new and unusual specimens, no matter what the cost. Then they tried to transport the plants—and themselves—home alive. Creating an important legacy in science, medicine, and agriculture, the plant hunters still inspire the scientific and environmental work of contemporary plant enthusiasts.

Working from primary sources—journals, letters, and notes from the field—Anita Silvey introduces us to these daring adventurers and scientists. She takes readers into the heart of their expeditions to then-uncharted places such as the Amazon basin, China, and India. As she brings a colorful cast of characters to life, she shows what motivated these Indiana Jones–type heroes. In The Plant Hunters, science, history, and adventure have been interwoven to tell a largely forgotten—yet fascinating—story.

About the Author

ANITA SILVEY is the author of Children's Books and Their Creators, 100 Best Books for Children, 500 Great Works for Teens, and a number of other works. She currently teaches courses in children's literature at Simmons College in Boston and St. Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont.

Praise For The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth

“…a lovely presentation of amazing adventures.” —School Library Journal

“…successfully infuse[s] the image of plant collection with a measure of excitement many readers will not expect.” —BCCB

“Combining bits of botanical history and exploration with accounts of adventurers, this unusual book introduces European and North American plant hunters...” —Booklist

“…smoothly written, smartly paced and filled with exciting tales of risk taking and derring-do.” —Kirkus Reviews