Carlos Magdalena is not your average horticulturist. He's a man on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. First captivated by the flora of his native Spain, he has travelled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting plants from man-made ecological destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors.
...a lively account of [Conniff's] own transformation from bar owner in Spain to Kew horticulturalist in training ... For anyone who might have considered plants dull stuff, Mr. Magdalena delivers a thrilling and inspirational account of adventures in the botanical world.
...for an avowed plant geek it is fascinating to follow Magdalena as he travels from remote Australian billabongs full of rare water lilies to the dry forests of western Peru ... But the greater accomplishment of The Plant Messiah is the compelling case that Magdalena makes from caring about plants in general.
Much of The Plant Messiah is pretty well summed up as 'James Herriot, but for ultra-rare plants' — a string of stories from Magdalena’s travels to collect plants, teach plant propagation techniques, and promote conservation ... Magdalena responds to the logic of biodiversity triage on virtually every page of the book. Much of his argument is the kind of thing R. Alexander Pyron dismissed as sentimentality ... The Plant Messiah aims to ignite a movement.