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Plant Exploration for Longwood Gardens

By Tomasz Aniśko

Foreword by Christopher Brickell

Beautifully, masterfully done. You are never, never bored. Buy this book.

Washington Gardener

Longwood Gardens of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, enjoys a long and distinguished tradition of plant exploration and introduction, dating back to the foundation of its arboretum in 1798. Since the 1950s, 50 such plant-hunting expeditions have taken place on six continents and in some 50 countries. These quests are the subject of Plant Exploration for Longwood Gardens, which tells the stories of the people who participated in what were often arduous but always stimulating adventures and the plants they brought back. Illustrated with 500 photographs, this book provides a complete account of these journeys to the far corners of the world and is sure to be a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of plant exploration and introduction.

Media reviews

"Each collecting region is introduced by a chapter, starting with a handsome map and short description of climate and plant communities. The chapters are filled with superb photos, most of which were taken by the collectors."

—S. Hammer, Choice

"Gives the reader an in-depth look at the ways arboretums, horticultural organizations, and botanical gardens have thrived and adjusted over the years."

Biology Digest

"An entertaining and enjoyable read. ... That the book honors those that have gone before and those plant explorers of today makes it 'worthy.'"


"A beautiful book with details about each exploration. ... It is full of beautiful colored images of the plants, along with photos of the explorers involved. ... This is a worthwhile book to understand how plant collectors come to find varieties of plants from other continents."

—Thomas Mickey, Home and Garden

"This approach offers a fascinating comparison to how both plant hunting and botanical institutions have changed over time. ... We see here the beauty of the flowering plants of the world in all their diversity."

—Luurt Nieuwenhuis, American Rhododendron Society Journal

"Beautifully, masterfully done. You are never, never bored. Buy this book. Either for your coffee table, as it is large and beautiful, or for your reference shelves as it is detailed and precise, or for poring over with a pack of Post-Its to flag and try to find the pictured plants."

—Jim Dronenburg, Washington Gardener

"This extaordinary book is in celebration of the garden's centennial and provides stories of the people who participated in expeditions, bringing back plants, determining how to best propogate and introduce to the horticultural trade and home gardens."

—Florence Clowes, Polish American Journal

"This is sure to be a captivating read for anyone interested in the history of plant exploration and introduction."


"This book is ... much wider in scope and more informative about exotic plants, their native habitats, and what it takes to bring them to appreciative gardens in this part of Pennsylvania."

—Jo-Anne Greene, Lancaster (PA) Sunday News

About the author

Tomasz Aniśko

Tomasz Aniśko is curator of plants at the internationally renowned Longwood Gardens. A Polish native, he holds a master's degree and a doctorate in horticulture, and has collected plants for Longwood Gardens on 17 international expeditions.

Read more about Tomasz Aniśko

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