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Vertigo

Richard Rudgley: Plant obsessions, 15 July 1999

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession 
by Susan Orlean.
Heinemann, 348 pp., £12.99, April 1999, 0 434 00783 8
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The Tulip 
by Anna Pavord.
Bloomsbury, 438 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 7475 4296 1
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Plants of Life, Plants of Death 
by Frederick Simoons.
Wisconsin, 568 pp., £27.95, September 1998, 0 299 15904 3
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... aberration is barely credible.’ Why people avoid some plants and revere others is the subject of Frederick Simoons’s meticulous study of the ancient religious roots from which comparatively modern manifestations such as orchidodelirium and tulipomania ultimately derive. To someone like me, largely concerned to investigate the role of drug plants now ...

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