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Vol. 8(7), pp. 9The McAllen International Orchid Society JournalJuly 2007

Books for the Serious Scholar

R J Ferry

Pridgeon, A. M. , Phillip J. Cribb, Mark W. Chase, and Finn N. Rasmussen, eds. 1999. Genera Orchidacearum. Vol. 1. General Introduction, Apostasioideae, Cypripedioideae. 197pp. Trustees of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Great Britain: Oxford University Press.

__________. 2001. Genera Orchidacearum. Vol. 2. Orchidoideae (Part one). 416pp.

__________. 2003. Genera Orchidacearum. Vol. 3. Orchidoideae (Part two), Vanilloideae. 416pp.

__________. 2005. Genera Orchidacearum. Vol. 4. Orchidoideae Epidendroideae (Part one). 672pp.

Fig. 1. Dust jacket of Vol. 4. Epidendroideae (Part one).

The volumes of this set listed above are in your editor's library, and remaining volumes to be ordered. The price tags per volume vary, depending on the availability and condition of each one. Some may be bought for a little over fifty five dollars, while other volumes are in the 120 dollar range. When the set is completed, these books are projected to treat the entire orchid family at the family, tribe, and subtribe levels, and particularly at the genus level.

Picking volume 4 as an example, and randomly opening it to page 44, we see the breakdown on genus #234. Coelogyne. As for each genus, the subheadings covered include Derivation of Name, Description, Distribution, Infrageneric treatment, Anatomy, Palynology (pollen), Phytochemistry, Phylogenetics, Ecology, Pollination, Uses, Cultivation, and an extensive list of the Taxonomic literature. A black-and-white map of the worldwide distribution of each genus is also provided.

These big volumes are best suited in the library where one has the space to spread the book out. The information offered is exhaustive for many orchid genera, but where knowledge is scant or nonexistent, this also is noted. Leafing through part one of the Epidendroideae, it has been interesting to note how little we really know about so many orchid genera. Obviously much room remains for research by not only the orchid scientist, but the amateur grower!

Copyright © 2007 R J Ferry