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This volume accompanies text volume 25 published in 2009.
Volume 25 of the illustrations series is devoted to one plant family of enormous significance and interest, namely, the orchid family (Orchidaceae), with 1388 species in China, of which 491 are endemic. People have delighted in orchids for thousands of years. The seventh-century poet Ch'en Tzu-ang described their "red petals rising from purple stems." In the eighth century, poet Li Ho evoked the "rich fragrance" of orchids. Confucius is said to have cultivated them.
Today they are the backbone of the horticulture industry. Examples, both available in nurseries, are: Gymnadenia conopsea, pale pink and fragrant (p. 180); and Dactylorhiza fuchsii, with pale to deep pink flowers and the labellum or lip with deep purple spots sometimes forming stripes (p. 162). Orchid lovers appreciate the variety of forms and colors the flower takes. Pollinators such as bees, flies, or beetles often find the labellum useful as a platform.
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