The European discovery of the Indian flora : The flora of the Indian subcontinent has stirred European curiosity and investigation for over two millennia. From pepper, a coveted commodity of the lucrative spice trade, to rhododendrons, orchids, and alpine flowers, cherished in innumerable British gardens and conservatories, Indian plants have long been highly prized in the West. This book surveys European perceptions of the diversity of the Indian flora, and examines its impact on European commerce and culture –including botany, horticulture, and floral art–from antiquity to modern times. An epilogue briefly surveys the development of botanical studies since the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. This exceptional, richly illustrated volume will interest amateur and professional botanists, horticulturists, and students of Indian history and culture.