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Darwin's Orchids: Then & Now

By: Retha Edens-Meier(Editor), Peter Bernhardt(Editor)

384 pages, 16 plates with colour illustrations, 33 b/w photos, 14 b/w illustrations, 14 tables

University of Chicago Press

Hardback | Dec 2014 | #215698 | ISBN-13: 9780226044910
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £38.50 $50/€42 approx

About this book

For biologists, 2009 was an epochal year: the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of a book now known simply as On the Origin of Species. But for many botanists, Darwin's true legacy starts with the 1862 publication of another volume: On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects and on the Good Effects of Intercrossing, or Fertilisation of Orchids. This slim but detailed book with the improbably long title was the first in a series of plant studies by Darwin that continues to serve as a global exemplar in the field of evolutionary botany. In Darwin's Orchids, an international group of orchid biologists unites to celebrate and explore the continuum that stretches from Darwin's groundbreaking orchid research to that of today.

Mirroring the structure of Fertilisation of Orchids, Darwin's Orchids investigates flowers from Darwin's home in England, through the southern hemisphere, and on to North America and China as it seeks to address a set of questions first put forward by Darwin himself: What pollinates this particular type of orchid? How does its pollination mechanism work? Will an orchid self-pollinate or is an insect or other animal vector required? And how has this orchid's lineage changed over time? Diverse in their colors, forms, aromas, and pollination schemes, orchids have long been considered ideal models for the study of plant evolution and conservation. Looking to the past, present, and future of botany, Darwin's Orchids will be a vital addition to this tradition.

"[...] This book will delight all those who have ever paused in a garden centre and, gazing at some extraordinary orchid, wondered, "Just what was evolution thinking?" Well, now, to some degree, we seem to know. Darwin would surely have been amazed by all the progress outlined here, and fascinated by such a wealth of new knowledge."
- Adrian Barnett, New Scientist (09-12-2014)

"Orchidophiles unite! This extraordinary volume inspires a rethinking about Darwin, orchids, and evolution. And even more, it not only reminds us that truth is stranger than fiction, but also that orchids have the most creative, complex, and convoluted contrivances associated with their sex lives!"
- Meg Lowman, Chief of Science & Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences, author of Life in the Treetops

"The ideas and themes behind Darwin's Orchids are quite appropriate and significant. Basing almost every chapter upon or with a take-off from Darwin's 1862/1877 books really is important. There have been several recent books which cover different aspects of Darwin and his works, including orchids, but this book has the strongest scholarly basis. Using the Darwin books as the foundation is brilliant."
- James L. Seago, State University of New York at Oswego

"A fascinating book. Darwin's Orchids will be a very valuable addition to the orchidological scientific literature."
- Peter G. Kevan, University of Guelph, Canada



Peter Bernhardt and Retha Edens-Meier
I.  Darwin Shares His Orchids
1  Darwin’s Orchids (1862, 1877): Origins, Development, and Impact
Peter Bernhardt and Retha Edens-Meier
II.  Darwin’s Orchids of the English and Eurasian Countrysides
2  Darwin on the Pollination of Orchis: What He Taught Us and What We Can Tell Him Today
Giovanni Scopece, Salvatore Cozzolino, and Amots Dafni
3  Ophrys Pollination: From Darwin to the Present Day
Nicolas J. Vereecken and Ana Francisco
III.  Darwin and His Colleagues: Orchid Evolution in the Southern Hemisphere
4  Pollination of South African Orchids in the Context of Ecological Guilds and Evolutionary Syndromes
Steven D. Johnson
5  Phylogeny of Orchidaceae Tribe Diurideae and Its Implications for the Evolution of Pollination Systems
Peter H. Weston, Andrew J. Perkins, James O. Indsto, and Mark A. Clements
Appendix 5.1: Morphological Character States Used to Construct a Phylogeny of the Diurideae
6  Pollination of Spider Orchids (Caladenia syn. Arachnorchis) by Wasps . . . and Others: A Lingering Post-Darwinian Mystery
Sophie Petit
7  The Sun Orchids (Thelymitra) Then and Now: Large Flowers versus Small Flowers and Their Evolutionary Implications
Retha Edens-Meier and Peter Bernhardt
IV.  Darwin and His Colleagues: Orchid Evolution in the Tropics
8  Pollination Biology and Evolutionary History of Angraecoid Orchids: From Darwin to the Present Day
Claire Micheneau, Jacques Fournel, and Thierry Pailler
9  Orchids and Neotropical Pollinators since Darwin’s Time
David W. Roubik
V.  Extravagant Architecture: The Diandrous Orchids
10  Pollination and Floral Evolution of Slipper Orchids (Subfamily Cypripedioideae)
Retha Edens-Meier, Yi-bo Luo, Robert Pemberton, and Peter Bernhardt
VI.  Overview: The Influence of Color Perception and Climate Change
11  Color and Sexual Deception in Orchids: Progress toward Understanding the Functions and Pollinator Perception of Floral Color
A. C. Gaskett
12  Impacts of Extreme Weather Spells on Flowering Phenology of Wild Orchids in Guangxi, Southwestern China
Hong Liu, Chang-Lin Feng, Xiao-Qing Xie, Wuying Lin, Zheng-Hai Deng, Xin-Lian Wei, Shi-Yong Liu, and Yi-Bo Luo
Retha Edens-Meier and Peter Bernhardt
List of Contributors
Species Index
General Index

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Retha Edens-Meier is associate professor in the College of Education and Public Service at Saint Louis University and a research associate with the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and the Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, Western Australia.

Peter Bernhardt is professor of biology at Saint Louis University and a research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Botanic Garden and Domain Trust in Sydney, Australia.

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