The orchid, one of the largest families of plants, could be referred to as a universal flower. Its ability to adapt to most climates makes it among the most diverse and widely distributed flowering plants in the world. There are 25,000 to 35,000 natural species of the orchid.
Flora's Orchids presents more than 1,500 varieties of this versatile plant, with entries accompanied by at least 1,300 stunning color photographs. The flowers are arranged in an A-Z format. Each entry first lists the scientific name in Latin, often accompanied by a Latin synonym and, where appropriate, the translated common name. Plant spread and height are listed both in inches and centimeters, followed by symbols indicating plant type, natural growing locations, growing conditions, frost tolerance, preferred temperatures, type of flower, and preference for pot or mount cultivation. The brief descriptions explain the type of genus, geographic area, and bloom and dormancy seasons. Cultivation advice includes mulching, treating dormant tubers, and propagating.
Especially valuable for aspiring botanists and average gardeners is the background information that precedes the dictionary text and explains orchid varieties, taxonomy, hybridization, history, cultivation, propagation, and more. The history section delves into the fascinating historical development of the plant for culinary and medicinal usage and also explores the use of orchids in folklore and literature. A detailed cultivation table for each of the species is found in the appendix.
All in all, the 12 botanical experts who contributed to Flora's Orchids have created an outstanding, readable, and easy-to--understand specialized reference work suitable for gardeners at all levels. Recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with pertinent collections. Ann Cohen
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"Even those who claim not to like orchids will enjoy thumbing through this beautiful book."—Jerry Parsons, Pacific Horticulture, May/June 2006 (Jerry Parsons Pacific Horticulture)
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"Describes and offers beautiful color photographs of over 1,500 orchids, far more than in most such books, in language that minimizes difficult botanical terminology, and it provides a glossary explaining important terms it does use."—M. Taylor, Choice, April 2006 (M. Taylor Choice)
"The book offers substance as well as style."—Janet A. Crum, Library Journal, November 2005 (Janet A. Crum Library Journal)