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Chasing Plants

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Join botanist Chris Thorogood in his hair-raising, global adventures as he treads a death-defying path over cliffs, up erupting volcanoes, through typhoons, and out into the very heart of the world’s vast, green wilderness, all for the love of plants.


Shortlisted for the Garden Media Guild Awards Garden Book of the Year

Author: Chris Thorogood. 288 pp. 234 x 156 mm. 45 colour paintings, 32 black and white illustrations. Hardback, ISBN 9781842467640, Kew Publishing 2022.

Ever been obsessed with something? I mean really obsessed? Ever lain awake dreaming about it: a new car perhaps, your dream house, a person? I guess we all have them, only my obsession is a little offbeat. Mine is plants. . .

After making a strange discovery on a childhood trip to Ikea, Chris Thorogood dreamed of becoming a botanist and would stop at nothing to feed his growing addiction to plants.

In his hair-raising adventures across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, he treads a death-defying path over cliffs, up erupting volcanoes, through typhoons, and out into the very heart of the world’s vast, green wilderness. Along the way, he encounters pitcher plants, irises and orchids more heart-piercingly beautiful than you could ever imagine. An internationally acclaimed botanical illustrator, Thorogood conjures his adventures back to life in his electric paintings, which feature throughout the book. Joining his wild adventures is to be under a green spell: you’ll never think of plants the same way again.   

Thorogood . . . is one of those rare people who has devoted his entire life to noticing plants. GrrlScientist, Forbes

Through personal stories and exquisite illustrations, we learn about some of the world’s weirdest and most fascinating plants. You’ll never look at a parasitic plant in the same way again. Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Unusual, engaging, and delightfully informal. Sir Peter Crane, President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation

A must-read for any field biologist or armchair nature lover! Meg Lowman, author of The Arbornaut and National Geographic Explorer


Media coverage:

Chasing Plants is an exuberant, awe-inspiring, and artistic science book that conveys absorbing love for plants. Here, tracking down nature’s beauty, wherever it may be, is one of life’s greatest thrills. Kristine Morris, Foreword

Petal power: On the scent of the world’s rare and riveting plants, The Sunday Post

Luminous paintings are the star of the show. . . . It is hard not to share in Thorogood’s delight as each page brings effusions of rare and unique beauty. Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History

Thorogood ... brings a winning mix of skills: PhD in botany with an emphasis on parasitic plants, mad artistic talent that renders his plant subjects true to life, and a sense of adventure so keen that it carries him through some of the more treacherous terrain on the planet. Alan Moores, Booklist

Chris Thorogood goes to the ends of the Earth to study unusual plants ... a rollicking adventure story. Ciar Byrne, The Lady

This inspirational book is a 'must have' for aspiring botanists, gardeners, plantaholics, armchair travellers and young people. Matthew Biggs, Gardens Illustrated  

For plant nerds seeking adventure. Elissa Cooper, Library Journal

... spine-tingling tales of [his] travels through Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia in search of some of the world's most unusual plants. The resulting illustrations are a joy to behold. Fionnuala Fallon, The Irish Times

My hope is that it will help inspire a new generation of plant scientists, at a time when we have never needed them more. Chris Thorogood, OX Magazine


Chris Thorogood is Deputy Director and Head of Science of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum. His research focusses on the evolution, conservation, and the biomimetic applications of plants. Chris is a wildlife artist, botanical illustrator, and an international best-selling author of specialist field guides and popular titles including Weird Plants (Kew Publishing, 2018), Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Western Mediterranean, 2nd edition (Kew Publishing, 2021), and Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Eastern Mediterranean (Kew Publishing, 2019).

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