Phalaenopsis: A Monograph
Without a doubt, the most widely grown orchids in the world are the species and hybrids of Phalaenopsis, the "moth orchids." Since their discovery by western botanists in the 18th century, phalaenopsis were considered aristocrats even among orchids and were eagerly sought out by the most discerning -- and wealthy -- of collectors. With advances in orchid propagation and breeding in the middle 20th century, however, these orchids became accessible and affordable to anyone with an eye for exceptional beauty. Few floriculture crops have swamped the marketplace as suddenly as phalaenopsis has in recent years, with millions of plants being produced for the mass market annually. Moth orchids have helped eliminate the misconception of orchids as temperamental conservatory plants only for the very rich. In the words of author Eric Christenson, we are witnessing "the makings of an orchid revolution."
Against this backdrop of change and ferment, Christenson set out to write a definitive monograph of the genus Phalaenopsis, the first thorough treatment since Herman Sweet's revision in 1969. Focusing mainly on the forebears of today's omnipresent hybrids -- the species -- he always keeps an eye on the characteristics that species might bring to today's hybridization programs. With extensive keys and detailed reviews of the taxonomy of the genus, Christenson provides a thorough picture of the current scientific understanding of these remarkable plants.
In addition to its scientific content, this book offers a wealth of practical information for the orchid hobbyist. A useful chapter on cultivation techniques is included, as is a chapter on hybrids in their many forms, shapes, and colors. More than 200 color photos and 60 drawings enliven the work and provide a fascinating visual overview.
With the full sponsorship and support of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance, Christenson has written an extraordinary book reflecting years of botanical research and horticultural experience with the genus. No orchid specialist will want to be without it.