LETTER : Gear for plant hunters

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The Independent Online
IN HIS article on Britain's New Wave "plant hunters" ("Pith helmets optional", Sunday Review, 28 May), Michael Leapman finds that these two words "evoke visions of men and women in pith helmets roving the plains and jungles of the Orient armed with a sharp knife, a plastic bag and a phial of snake-bite serum".

The pith helmet or sola topee and the knife are reasonable to conjure up but not plastic bags and snake-bite serum. Plastic bags are a post- 1950s phenomenon and snake-bite serum varies with the type of snake. As a Colonial Office publication puts it: "In the event of receiving a snake- bite, secure the head of the snake so that the appropriate anti-venin can be administered".

Ian McCall

Auchencrow, Berwickshire