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With their graceful stance, brilliant colours, and intricate markings, members of the North American genus Calochortus are among the most dazzling bulbous plants in the world. Yet their mostly undeserved reputation for being difficult to grow has kept them from being known and appreciated by the vast majority of gardeners. By presenting detailed history, distribution, habitat, and observations on cultivation for each species, Mary Gerritsen and Ron Parsons aim to raise awareness of these gems of the American West and to bring them into wider horticultural use. The superb photographs, most taken in situ, vividly illustrate the remarkable variation within the genus and sometimes even within species.
Mary E. Gerritsen, PhD, an accomplished cell biologist and pharmacologist, has worked in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries for more than 25 years and is the author of scores of articles in medical journals and textbooks. She lives in San Mateo, California.
Ron Parsons has been growing orchids for more than three decades and photographing them for nearly as long. He has over 25 000 slides of orchid species and lectures frequently on a variety of orchid genera. Ron grows an assortment of cool-growing orchid species in a small greenhouse and under lights. He was born, raised, and currently lives in the San Francisco, California, area.