Episode 58: Chasing the Ghost with Peter Marren

I’m speaking to Peter Marren, author of Chasing the Ghost: My Search for all the Wild Flowers of Britain. Peter travelled the length and breadth of Britain to track down those native species he’d never seen growing in the wild. Like all the best hero’s journeys, the path must be littered with challenges, disappointments, interesting characters, in this case both plants and people and the drama of the journey travelled surpasses the quest. This episode is perfect for those of us lucky enough to still have access to nature and my hope is that by the end of it at least one or two of you will have a new hobby/obsession!

About Peter Marren:

Peter Marren is an all-rounder naturalist, nature writer and conservationist. Peter is the author of many books, including volumes on nature conservation, mushrooms and butterflies. His writing has appeared in every issue of British Wildlife since 1990, where he writes a satirical column ‘Twitcher in the Swamp’.

What We Discuss:

The quest embarked upon in Chasing the Ghost

How many species of native wildflower are there in the British Isles? How many did Peter need to see in order to see the ‘full set’?

How the book is as much about the people Peter met along the way as it is about plants

Peter’s best/most triumphant find

Of all the plants Peter saw, which is the most endangered, in his opinion?

His most dangerous expedition

Plant twitching as a hobby

Some of the most interesting common names

How could a person embark upon their own plant hunting quest? Where would be a good place to get started?


Chasing the Ghost: My Search for all the Wild Flowers of Britain – Peter Marren Vintage Publishing, 2019

Harrap’s Wild Flowers by Simon Harrap – Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018

Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by Marjorie Blamey, Richard Fitter, Alastair H. Flitter – Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013

The New Concise British Flora by Rev. W Keble Martin – Sphere Books Ltd, 1972




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