The Plant Hunters

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 adventures 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.

A Daisy Is a Daisy Is a Daisy (Except When It’s a Girl’s Name)

Many girls are named after flowers (or even forms of the word “flower,” such as Flora). Girls’ names in different languages accompany her imaginative illustrations of flowers, so that the reader discovers, for example, that Gul means rose in Turkish, but that it is Rosa in Spanish and Rodanthe in Greek. Flowers named in the book include rose, heather, buttercup, sunflower, lily of the valley, daisy, bluebell, snowdrop, hyacinth, myrtle, camomile, cherry blossom, jasmine, violet, tulip, poppy. This can be used in the classroom to talk about culture, language and botany.