Charles Elliott

Growing, Growing, Gone

The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species

By

Viking 217pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The world harbours some pretty odd plants. Growing in the Nazca Desert of Peru, for example, are Tillandsia (bromeliads otherwise known as air plants) that have been carbon dated as 14,000 years old. The rare Roussea simplex from the high altitude rainforest of Mauritius, described as ‘part liana and part shrub’, not only serves as host to hundreds of orchids but can also be pollinated only by the blue-tailed day gecko, itself nearly extinct. Then there is the Prosopis limensis, or huarango, a spiny tree of the pea family that can send down roots 250 feet in search of water. Its heartwood is second only to ironwood as the hardest in the world.

The problem is that many of these oddities – and thousands of others – are not only endangered but in many cases on the edge of extinction. When the last ones die, that will be the end. This is where Carlos Magdalena comes in.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,