A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy
by Eric Hansen

Published by:
Pantheon Books, A Division of Random House
ISBN: 0-679-45141-2
Hardbound   ·   288 pages   ·   $23.00

Vintage Books, A Division of Random House
ISBN: 0-679-77183-2
Paperback   ·   272 pages   ·   $13.00

Ordering information

More quotes below "You can get off alcohol, drugs, women, food and cars, but once you're hooked on orchids you're finished. You never get off orchids ... never."
          - Joe Kunisch, Commercial Orchid Grower, Rochester, New York

           In 1993 Eric Hansen led an expedition into the steaming jungles of Borneo to find the world's rarest orchid. Seven years later he was still on the trail of the true story behind one of nature's strangest plants and humanity's greatest obsessions.
           Orchid Fever is a seductive journey into the mesmerizing world of orchids. From the Orinoco River to the hothouses of Kew, and from the clandestine nurseries of Europe to the peat bogs of northern Minnesota, this is a tale of luscious, sexy flowers, orchid smugglers, fist fighting botanists, moths with twelve inch-long tongues, murder, corruption, and government officials who raid orchid nurseries with attack dogs and automatic weapons. Strange tales of insect pollenator fidelity and the orchid ice cream makers of Eastern Turkey, are blended with haunting stories about a wide range of gentle people whose passion in life is the creation of scented, fragile flowers.
           Eric Hansen spent seven years exploring the far corners of the earth - marveling at flowers of uncommon beauty, studying the history of the orchid trade, and grappling with the vicious, bizarre, and petty world of plant politics that sometimes makes it impossible to protect endangered species of orchids. Hansen brings to life colorful flowers and the even more colorful people who are attracted to them, as he illuminates a funny, wierd, and poignant world of horticultural passion and pathos.

  Orchid Fever book jacket
Book excerpt

Praise for Orchid Fever

"Terrific. Orchid Fever reads like a natural history thriller. Brimming with a dazzling trove of colorful characters, orchid lore and solid scientific fact."
          - Natural History Magazine

"Wonderful ... I was up all night reading it, laughing and crying out in horror..."
          - E. Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News

"Told with great style and sardonic wit, this is a story about greed, tragicomic bureaucracy, and a most peculiar obsession that I still find hard to believe."
          - Marc Reisner, author of Cadillac Desert

"Orchid Fever is a tale that cross-pollinates Darwin and Conrad. A vivid and compelling investigation of how simple flowers can lure strong minds to madness."
          - Joe Kane, author of Running the Amazon, and Savages

"A highly unusual bit of travel writing involving the search for the world's rarest orchid. On his epic journey Hansen encounters a multitude of outrageous characters united by their passion for these fragile flowers. Brilliantly observed and very funny, Orchid Fever is travel writing at its finest."
          - The Bookseller, London

"In my 40 years as an orchid scientist, author and book editor, I have never read anything quite like Orchid Fever. It is part absurdist black humor and part horticultural expose. Mr. Hansen displays a rare talent for capturing the allure of orchids, describing the dubious characters who lurk in the shadows, and exposing the small handful of self-appointed power brokers who rule the orchid world. Frightening, funny and full of tantalizing insider knowledge. And yes...there are strange and wonderful stories about orchids as well."
          - Dr. Joseph Arditti, editor of Orchid Biology

"Most enjoyable. Orchid Fever should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in orchid conservation."
          - Eric Hagsater, former Chairman Orchid Specialist Group, IUCN
            Species Survival Commission

"Fabulous and brilliantly portrayed."
          - Ned Nash, Director of Conservation, American Orchid Society

"Spellbinding ...an absolute pleasure to read."
          - Michael Lidsky, CITES Program Coordinator, USDA

          - USA Today

"Orchid Fever has created a firestorm of debate in the orchid world and orchidists owe it to themselves to read Hansen's revelations in this lively, well-written, engaging and disturbing book."
          - Marianne Matthews, President, Orchid Digest Corporation

"A delicious literary adventure and horticultural exposé..."
          - Miami Herald

"A very insightful and important book, told with a fine sense of humor."
          - Gunnar Seidenfaden, Author of The Orchids of Peninsular Malaysia &

"Revealing and lucidly written..."
          - Barrons International

"I loved Orchid Fever. Powerful storytelling. Balanced, fair and well documented."
          - Dr. Eric Christenson, Orchid Taxonomist

"Regarding the idiocies of CITES...I wanted to burst in applause and/or laughter."
          - Alasdair Morrison

"Orchid Fever is indeed a fine book and a great pleasure to read."
          - Dr. Leonid Averyanov, Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg,

"Reader beware! The purchase of this book will lead to one sleepless night of laughter."
          - Dr. Guido Braem, Orchid Taxonomist, author of The Genus
            Paphiopedilum: Natural History and Cultivation

"Mesmerizing...eye-opening...a great piece of investigative journalism."
          - Catherine Cash, author of The Slipper Orchids

For individual orders, visit Amazon Books online (hardbound or paperback), Random House online paperback), or your local bookseller.

For a signed first edition, or to arrange an interview with Eric Hansen or book a speaking engagement, please contact the author by e-mail at ekhansen@ix.netcom.com

20MAR04 - C/W E