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China's rich flora is unrivalled in temperate latitudes of the world, with 30,000 species of plants. Nowhere is this floral richness better seen than in the west of the country. With its diverse scenery, lush forests, huge rivers and massive mountains, western China has been the centre of plant exploration for two centuries, giving rise to Clematis, Gentiana, Primula, Rhododendron and hundreds of orchids, Meconopsis, camellias, peonies and roses. Our gardens, parks and botanic institutes are full of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs of Chinese origin.
Today much of China is open for travellers to enjoy the amazing variety of scenery and the vast, rich flora. This exceptional pictorial flora to western China describes and illustrates over 2,400 plants, and while providing a field guide to many of the commoner and colourful elements of the flora, it also includes many endemics and plants of great rarity. With the arrangement of the plant families following the latest DNA-based classification, it will meet the discerning needs of plant scientists.
Christopher Grey-Wilson was a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for 22 years. He has edited "Curtis's Botanical Magazine" and "The Plantsman" in the past, and today "The Alpine Gardener". He is the author of The Genus Meconopsis: Blue Poppies and their Relatives. He has been awarded five gold medals by the Royal Horticultural Society and for the last eight years has designed exhibits for the Alpine Garden Society at the Chelsea Flower Show, all of which have received Gold Medals. In 2007 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's highest accolade, a Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH).
Phillip Cribb is a leading specialist on the taxonomy and conservation of orchids. He was Deputy Keeper of the Herbarium and Curator of the Orchid Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, until his retirement in 2006.