A Splendour of Succulents & Cacti

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Succulents, especially cacti, are the current focus of serious ecological studies but also the darlings of designers and style influencers. Their endearing, characterful looks have given them the status of trendy 'plant pets'. But succulentomania is not new. While these plants have always been part of the landscape in the dry vastnesses of the Americas, Australia and Africa, curiosities such as furry-flowered stapeliads and euphorbias like snakes were a source of fascination for early European plant collectors - and in eighteenth-century Bavaria a prosperous apothecary grew an 'American aloe' that astounded all who saw it. This apothecary, Johann Wilhelm Weinmann, was the mastermind behind a groundbreaking book in which he aimed to include thousands of plants from all over the world, describing their individual characteristics and commissioning magnificent colour illustrations of each specimen.