The Botany of Desire

Published on 5th February 2016 by

The Botany of Desire was initially a bestselling 2003 non-fiction book by journalist Michael Pollan, it explores the nature of domesticated plants. Pollan uses four case studies which mirror four types of human desire, those desires are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer those plants.

The four case studies used are the apple, which reflects the desire of sweetness, the tulip which reflects the desire of beauty, potato which represents sustenance, and marijuana which represents pleasure.

This 2009 two hour long documentary, also titled The Botany of Desire, has been filmed based on the content of that book. A particularly interesting segment sees the sophisticated Marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam explored. The film was well received critically by those who had previously read the book.


The bestselling 2003 book by Michael Pollan on which this documentary is based, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, is available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook, or audio CD.

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