Over the last year I have read several plant-related books that have referenced a classic historical fiction novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Black Tulip. Alexandre Dumas is the author who wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. After reading about the importance of this book and its portrayal of a very real tulip obsession in Holland, I found myself an old copy of the book and read it last Fall.
The book focuses on a tulip fancier who is committed to being the first person to breed a truly black tulip, a challenge issued by the royal plant society. The story intertwines historical figures and events, to really put the reader into the time frame of these events.
I have to say that this book was one of the most enjoyable books I've read in quite a while. It has a nice love story, with the main character being equally entranced in his love interests: a female and a trio of tulip bulbs.
I would recommend this book to anyone, really. You don't have to be a plant nut to enjoy the book, and it might even shed a little light on what may otherwise seem to be a crazy obsession.
Do you know of any other great works of fiction that involve plants in pivotal roles?