The Scent of Scandal: Inside the Wild World of Orchid-Smuggling

Presented By Craig Pittman

Orchid collectors are the folks who put the “cult” in “horticulture.” The proof: The discovery of a spectacular new orchid from South America leads to black market sales in Miami at a price of $10,000 a plant and then to a grand jury investigation in Tampa that ensnares one of the state’s tourist attractions. Truly one of the weirdest “weird Florida” stories ever, and it’s all true.

Award-winning author and journalist Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998, he has covered environmental issues for Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, winning state and national awards. He’s the co-author, with Matthew Waite, of Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss, (2009) and the author of Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species (2010), and, most recently, The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid. He currently lives in St. Petersburg.

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Craig Pittman