Brian Howey recounts his slide into obsession with great transparency. What started with a few succulents became a fixation with Nepenthes plants, a fascination he shared with an online community. These collectors are contributing to this plant’s destruction in the wild, but at the height of an obsession, that is easy to ignore. This is a fascinating look at how far down the rabbit hole the world of collecting can go.

Whenever he wasn’t caring for or staring at his collection, Mat was on his computer reading about Nepenthes, daydreaming about them. Originally interested in majoring in English or history, he instead pursued a degree in biology with a focus on botany. “Because that’s all I could think about,” he says. The switch added at least a year to his education and inflated his student loan debt.