Peter Marren

Chasing the Ghost
  • Chasing the Ghost

  • **ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S BEST BOOKS OF 2018**

    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.

    Praise for Chasing the Ghost:

    ‘Peter Marren is the unsung hero of Britain’s nature writers’ Stephen Moss, author of Dynasties

    ‘Jolly, quixotic and ends with real poignancy’ Guardian

    ‘A poignant reminder to us all to engage with the wild flowers that grow around us’ i Newspaper

Peter Marren is a wildlife writer, journalist and authority on invertebrate folklore and names. His books include the bestselling Rainbow Dust; The New Naturalists, which won the Society for the History of Natural History’s Thackray Medal; and Britain’s Rare Flowers, which won the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ Presidents’ Award. Peter also won a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for his work on Bugs Britannica.