The Lost Amazon

The Pioneering Expeditions of Richard Evans Schultes

Written By: Chris Murray, Wade Davis, Andrew Weil, Richard Evans Schultes
In 1941 Richard Evans Schultes took leave of Harvard University and disappeared into the Amazon rain forest of Colombia. Twelve years later, he resurfaced having gone places no outsider had ever been. He mapped uncharted rivers and lived among two dozen Indian tribes while collecting some thirty thousand botanical specimens, including the sacred hallucinogenic mushroom known to the Aztecs as the “Flesh of the Gods” and ayahuasca (or yagé), known to indigenous cultures as the “Vine of the Soul.” Schultes is widely regarded as the greatest botanical explorer of the twentieth century.

As gifted a photographer as he was a scientist, Schultes’s exquisite images capture the lush landscapes, beautiful plants, and native people he encountered on his journey.

The Lost Amazon is an extraordinary chronicle of the life’s work of the world authority on medicinal, toxic, and hallucinogenic plants. Schultes’s connection with the places and people he encountered is evident both within these pages and in the way his legacy has been honored throughout South America.

Recipient of the Cross of Boyacá, Colombia’s most prestigious honor, as well as the Linnean Gold Medal, the highest honor awarded to a botanist, Schultes published more than four hundred scientific papers and numerous books, including Plants of the Gods, The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens, and The Healing Forest. Schultes passed away in 2001 at the age of eighty-six. In South America, a mountain bears his name, as does a national preserve.

Including a biographical essay from his former student, best-selling author Wade Davis, The Lost Amazon is a tribute to the brilliance of Schultes’s vision and an unrivaled anthropological record of a way of life that can never be recaptured.
Format: Hardbound
Publication Date: 5/10/2016
ISBN: 9781608876549
Pages: 216
Trim Size: 6 x 9.25

  • About the Author 
  • Press
Chris Murray, Afterword: Chris Murray co-curated the exhibition The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Legendary Botanist Richard Evans Schultes with Wade Davis at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and together, they edited Schultes’s remarkable photographs for publication in The Lost Amazon. He has organized more than two hundred and fifty exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide and is the author of over fifteen books on visual culture. He also is the founder and director of Govinda Gallery in Washington, DC.

Wade Davis, Author: Wade Davis is a critically acclaimed, internationally best-selling author and anthropologist. Davis’s many books include The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, The Wayfinders, and Into the Silence. Between 1999 and 2013, Davis served as explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

Andrew Weil, Foreword Contributor: Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine, Professor of Public Health, and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology. Dr. Weil received both his medical degree and his undergraduate AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University. Approximately ten million copies of Dr. Weil's books have been sold worldwide.

Richard Evans Schultes, Photographer: Richard Evans Schultes (1911–2001) was widely considered the preeminent authority on hallucinogenic and medicinal plants, and is regarded as the “father of ethnobotany.” He published ten books and more than four hundred and fifty scientific articles, and in 1992 received the gold medal of the Linnean Society of London, which is often equated with the Nobel Prize for botany. In South America, a mountain bears his name, as does a national preserve. Schultes’s research into hallucinogenic plants made some of his books cult favorites among drug experimenters in the 1960s. His findings also influenced such cultural icons as Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, and Carlos Castenada.