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A beautiful, richly illustrated book on Europe's wild orchids – perhaps the most enigmatic and popular group in the botanical world.
The orchid family (Orchidaceae), numbering some 25,000 species, is one of the world's two largest families of flowering plants. Whilst the vast majority of orchids are found in the wet tropics, Europe accommodates circa 130 native orchid species which are equally arranged in dense inflorescences of great beauty. Furthermore, the adaptations encountered in some of the European species are just as fascinating as those of their tropical relatives.
Orchids provides an introduction to the native orchids of Europe. It features four sections: Structure and systematics', Orchids and the environment', Orchid portraits' and How to learn more'. This part constitutes the bulk of the book, presenting individual genera in a sequence which reflects their most likely evolutionary relationships. Each genus is introduced by one page of text and illustrated by one or more colour plates on the following pages. The text gives information on how to recognise the genus, where it is distributed, and the estimated number of species it contains alongside information on the range of environmental requirements and flowering times in the European species. Depending on the genus, additional information may be found on topics such as pollination biology, associated fungi, evolutionary relationships or systematic problems.
Beautiful watercolour artwork accompanies the text, making this an indispensable gift for anyone interested in the natural world. Not only is it a useful field guide, it is also a beautiful art book.
Henrik Æ. Pedersen is Associate Professor at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. He has studied orchids for over 25 years, with his work mainly focussing on the systematics, ecology and conservation of orchids in Europe and tropical Asia. Pedersen is a popular lecturer and he has (co-)authored more than 150 publications, including several books. He also runs Select Nature – a consultancy firm that engages in research and public outreach.
Bo Mossberg is Sweden's foremost botanical illustrator, widely recognised across the world. He has won several awards, including the 1992 Rosen Prize and the Jill Smythies Award from the Linnean Society of London. In 2003 he received the Artdatabanken Conservation Prize. He has illustrated numerous botanical publications, including the bestselling The New Nordic Flora (2003), and many of his books have been published in several languages.