Chasing the Ghost: My Search for all the Wild Flowers of Britain by Peter Marren
Join renowned naturalist Peter Marren on an exciting quest to see every species of wild plant native to Britain. The mysterious Ghost Orchid blooms in near darkness among rotting leaves on the forest floor. It blends into the background to the point of invisibility, yet glows, pale and ghostly.
The ultimate grail of flower hunters, it has been spotted only once in the past twenty-five years. Its few flowers have a deathly pallor and are said to smell of over-ripe bananas. Peter Marren has been a devoted flower finder all his life.
While the Ghost Orchid offers the toughest challenge of any wild plant, there were fifty more British species Peter had yet to see, having ticked off the first 1,400 rummaging in hedges, slipping down gullies and peering in peat bogs. But he set himself the goal of finding the remaining fifty in a single summer. As it turned out, the wettest summer in years.
This expert and emotional journey takes Peter the length and the breadth of the British Isles, from the dripping ancient woods of the New Forest to the storm-lashed cliffs of Sutherland. He paddles in lakes, clambers up cliffs in mist and rain, and walks several hundred miles, but does he manage to find them all? Partly about plants, partly autobiography, Chasing the Ghost is also a reminder that to engage with wild flowers, all we need to do is look around us and enjoy what we see.