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This is neither a book on how humans grow orchids nor a treatise of how they classsify plants, but an extraordinary look at the bond that unites men – botanists, gardeners, plant hunters, explorers – to the names of orchids and the histories behind their discovery and scientific apprehension. The work is a great step into the realm of history, and orchids are the perfect excuse to expose the efforts, the courage and bravery, the ambition and jealousies, and the indomitable will of those men in the flesh who have made it possible to discover and name the amazing diversity of plants.
Each of the chapters that compose Of Men and Orchids, Part 1 tells the story of an orchid (or a few orchids) and a man, beginning with Acineta beyrodtiana and Otto Beyrodt, going through complete biographical sketches of the protagonists and discussing the sometimes complex taxonomy of the concerned orchid species. You will find very acknowledged names in plant history, like the Loddiges and Wendland dynasties, or botanists of the eminence of Eduard Friedrich Poeppig and Achille Richard, or famous explorers like Kegel and Jenman, but you will also be surprised at finding several less known names who compose the extraordinary story of orchidology. Vriese, Comparetti, Haller, Raddi, Loefgren, Lauche and Brade, Moquette and Hasskarl, are just a few of the many characters that are presented in the book, together with the orchids that immortalize their name.
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