The New Encyclopedia of Orchids: 1500 Species in Cultivation
By Isobyl la Croix
About the Author
Isobyl la Croix is editor of the prestigious journal, The Orchid Review, published by the royal horticultural society. She trained as a botanist at the University of Edinburgh and has done extensive fieldwork throughout the world, especially in Africa. She has written numerous books on a wide range of subjects, including orchids, and has contributed articles to specialist journals.
1500 orchid species are profiled in this authoritative, detailed, and carefully researched encyclopedia. Infinitely varied and hugely interesting, these strikingly beautiful plants are sumptuously illustrated with over 1000 photographs in a reference that no orchid lover can afford to be without. Isobyl la Croix is a scientist, plant hunter, and horticulturalist; her deep passion for orchids informs the plant selection and adds depth to the plant descriptions. The cultivation advice includes information about the orchid's native habitat—including elevation, geography, and climate. Recent developments in DNA analysis have led to some surprising findings with regard to the relationships between orchids, and the author has undertaken an extensive effort to bring all orchid names up-to-date to reflect the latest scientific thinking and taxonomy. From Acampe to Zygostates, no other serious reference approaches the depth and authority of this remarkable book.
The word orchid conjures an exotic image of lush rarity when, in fact, orchids are one of the largest family of plants, with an estimated 17,000–35,000 species worldwide, depending on the counting botanists. Horticulturist la Croix selected the fraction of orchid species that may be cultivated in gardens and greenhouses to summarize for enthusiasts and interested readers. Chapters briefly discussing the basics of cultivation, pests and diseases, and conservation are followed by an A–Z of genera and species. Each of the 350 genera that are included is described, with worldwide distribution and general cultivation requirements given. Entries for each species include plant and blossom size and characteristics as well as native location and habitat conditions. A substantial number of the species entries are accompanied by large, attractive photographs. The volume also contains a glossary, a bibliography, and common and scientific name indexes. The book’s strength is the author’s sensible advice, based on her work as a scientist and orchid grower. This volume is a good value and worthy of consideration for any botany and gardening collection. --Linda Scarth