Jim Cootes knows orchids so well that two species have been named after him. The author notes in his stunning Orchids of the Philippines
reveal that he has even found a pure white flower, rare as a snow leopard: "An albino form of Dendrobium fairchildiae
." This volume consists of an exhaustive and hypnotic listing of over 300 species of orchids--plants native to the archipelago, which have been discovered and classified by Cootes and others over decades of research.
Each entry includes a vivid color photograph and a series of subcategories, including growth habits, petals, habitat, and distribution. The roots of botanical names are traced for descriptive meanings. Occasional notes allow the author's voice into the proceedings, and the prose is often inadvertently poetic, as in this description of the habitat of the Bulbophyllum antenniferum: "It normally grows as an epiphyte, usually on the trunks of trees, but has been observed by the author growing on rocks in dappled light." Orchid enthusiasts beware: most of the plants shown here can only be grown in greenhouses. --Emily White
This book is an excellent blend of information for serious orchid growers as well as orchid enthusiasts who may have plants of Philippine origin in their collections. It documents both the popular, well-known species and those of botanical interest in a format designed to aid in identifying species.