Join renowned naturalist Peter Marren on an exciting quest to see every species of wild plant native to Britain.
Some people decide to go skydiving when they turn fifty. Others travel to a long dreamed-of place: Antarctica, perhaps, or the Galapagos. Others run the London Marathon. But to mark his most significant birthday, Peter Marren decided on an entirely different sort of mid-life challenge: to track down the last fifty British wild plants he'd yet to see, having ticked off the first 1,400 over a half-century well spent rummaging in hedges, slipping down gullies and peering into peat bogs.
This expert and emotional journey takes him the length and the breadth of the British Isles, searching for our most elusive plants. He travels from Skye to the Scilly Isles, from mountain to forest floor – but does he manage to find them all?
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.
"Peter Marren is the unsung hero of Britain's nature writers"
– Stephen Moss, author of Dynasties
"Jolly, quixotic and ends with real poignancy"
"A poignant reminder to us all to engage with the wild flowers that grow around us"
– i Newspaper
"[...] This is one of three plant-hunting books published this spring (the other two are orchid-centric) and I hope that they presage a return to a greater appreciation of our flora. We need more of this type of enthusiasm. Peter Marren’s infectious sense of delight in tracking down the elusive and obscure makes for a seductive and informative read. Would it be more alluring with colour photographs rather than the delicate line drawings at each chapter head? I do not think so. The very essence of this book is to go beyond pictorial illustration and to experience, through the author’s vivid prose, the living plants in their special places at their best time of year. If we do not have the luck or fortitude to try it ourselves, Chasing the Ghost is the next best thing. [...]"
– Brett Westwood, British Wildlife 29(4), April 2018