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The Plant Messiah: Book summary and reviews of The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena

The Plant Messiah

Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species

by Carlos Magdalena

The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena X
The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena
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About this book

Book Summary

The Plant Messiah is the inspirational story of a man who has devoted - and risked - his life to save incredible species, all in the name of making this Earth a greener and happier place. Amen to that.

Carlos Magdalena of Kew Gardens is not your average botanical horticulturist. He's a man on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants from destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. He is a plant messiah. From the planet's tiniest waterlily - the Nymphaea thermarum - to Huarango trees with roots over 50 metres long, Carlos has a miraculous ability to bring breathtakingly beautiful plants back from the brink of extinction.

He has travelled to the most remote and dangerous parts of the world - from the mountains of Peru to isolated Indian Ocean islands to the deepest Australian outback - in search of the rarest exotic species. Then, back in the Tropical Nursery at Kew, he uses pioneering, left-field techniques to help them grow. Now he's here to spread the gospel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"Carlos Magdalena is passionate about the protection of plant species – 1 in 5 plants is currently in danger of extinction. He grew up the son of a florist in northern Spain, where Franco had logged ancient forests and eliminated most "non-profitable" wildlife, and his childhood interest in natural history grew into a fervor for conservation. After moving to England at age 28, he underwent rigorous training at England's Kew Gardens to earn a horticultural diploma while working as a plant propagator. His initial focus was on the café marron plant from Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean, a place where biodiversity is critically threatened by invasive species and traditional medicine. Magdalena was part of a project to grow café marron cuttings at Kew and then return seeds to the wild in 2007 and 2010. However, his first love was waterlilies, so he also cultivated Australian varieties at Kew.

His travels also took him to the Amazon, Peru and Australia – a set of experiences that grows a bit repetitive. An epilogue offers ideas of how you can help combat plant extinctions, and there's a helpful glossary too. I especially liked the botanical illustrations. However, I think you have to be really, really interested in plants to get more out of this, and I was disappointed to learn at the very end that Magdalena had a ghostwriter – I would have preferred it if that fact was disclosed up front." - Rebecca Foster


Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Bound to enthrall readers and get them thinking more fully about plants." - Publishers Weekly

"Recommended for nature adventure fans and gardeners alike." - Library Journal

"This full-throttle memoir is a window on the exploits that underpin the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ... [His quests] reveal the rare mix of zeal and patience needed to hunt vanishing plants." - Nature

An entertaining, planterly romp around the world and a glimpse inside one of the world's great botanical institutions." - Financial Times (UK)

"Magdalena's claim to be a green-fingered Jesus has its merits. His record of propagating plants that others have consigned to botanical history is impressive. ... Some 30,000 plants have recorded uses for humans. Most people, the messiah preaches, are blind to these everyday miracles. This book will teach them to see." - The Economist (UK)

"The Plant Messiah reads like a detective novel. ... [This] is a thrillingly uplifting book. ... There is a beguiling energy to his prose that clearly he has in person." - Daily Mail (UK)

"Botany, on its face, doesn't sound particularly thrilling. This book will change your mind." - Bill McKibben, New York Times bestselling author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and Radio Free Vermont

"Carlos has been able to achieve things with plants that no one else can do." - Richard Barley, director of horticulture, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew

"Carlos is an inspiration to me. He's the perfect spokesperson for the plants of the world." - Jane Goodall, primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace

The information about The Plant Messiah shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Carlos Magdalena

Carlos Magdalena is Botanical Horticulturist in the Tropical Nursery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, an international lecturer, and Chairman of the International Waterlily & Water Gardens Society. He is renowned for his unique skills as a plant propagator who is saving the world's rarest plants.

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