Bulbs of the Eastern Mediterranean by Oron Peri: Pure unadulterated plant porn .

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BOTEM by Oron Peri

Oh my goodness, this book has been anticipated for such a long time!

I first heard it was near completion when I visited Oron’s garden and extensive plant collection in 2014. The idea of him writing a book about the bulbous species he grows made me positively salivate.

Its publication and release was finally heralded on Facebook and Twitter with much applause and my copy fell through the door just a couple of days later. Shakily opening the packaging, what I found met all the expectations that had been built for this field guide.

Having visited the Eastern Mediterranean and studied some of the species covered by this book, I could tell from my initial quick flick that it will become a vital resource for me and my forays into the flora of this region.

That said, my interest in these plants is not just their identity but also their cultivation, so for full marks for such a renowned bulb grower, I would have liked to see their horticulture covered as well. Can I hope that Oron will write a second book looking at his horticultural experiences of these bulbs? Are you listening Oron? … hint, hint!

The book is however the best reference guide yet to have been produced for the geophytes of the region. I own some Hebrew and Arabic wildflower books and look at the pictures and botanical names for identification. I stare blankly, however, at the writing in the hope that some of it may make sense someday. Finally I have something I can read. The photographs are also fantastic, being clearer, more descriptive and far more up to date than the other books I have. Bonus!

I don’t think I will tire of browsing this book any time soon. I fear it will become frayed and battered, through overuse; I should probably stock up on copies whilst it is available.

The Eastern Mediterranean biodiversity hot-spot is a region I would recommend any botanically minded individual to take a foray into. Some of the countries in the region are difficult to visit due to issues of religion, politics and war. However, for me the stark reminder that comes from this book is that so many of these plants are very threatened in their native lands. In the most war torn areas little, if anything, can be done to make sure these treasures remain safe in the wild. Oron’s book gives an important insight into both the species we can visit and those we cannot, leaving the reader lustful. This is not just another field guide.

By far the best book I had the pleasure to pick up in 2015.

Get your own copy here