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Hardy Cypripedium - book of the month

To celebrate the opening of Orchids at Kew Gardens, our 'book of the month' feature shines the spotlight on this popular family with an introduction to Hardy Cypripedium by Werner Frosch and Phillip Cribb.
Hardy Cypripedium - book cover

Introducing our next 'book of the month'.

Our  latest 'book of the month' feature is the first of two specials shining the spotlight on orchids.

From 9 February, Kew Gardens will be paying tribute to this popular family with the opening of Orchids, a vibrant and stunning display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. So as Kew Gardens prepares to bask in the colour of orchids, we think now is the perfect time to bring to you the best orchid titles Kew has to offer.

This month, we look at the beautifully produced Hardy Cypripedium while our next feature will showcase two books which will help you grow your own orchids at home. Enjoy!

Gina Fullerlove, Head of Publishing, Design & Photography, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

About the author


Phil Cribb - Co-author of Hardy Cypripedium
Phil Cribb, co-author of Hardy Cypripedium

Dr Phillip Cribb is a botanist who worked at Kew until March 2006. He holds Honorary Fellowships at Kew and at the Royal Holloway College, University of London. Over the past 40 years he has led or participated in many expeditions across the world. He is the author or co-author of over 380 scientific papers and several books, including Hardy Cypripedium. He is currently a member of three committees of the Royal Horticultural Society and was chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Committee’s Orchid Specialist Group from 1995-2006.

About the book - Hardy Cypripedium

Hardy Cypripedium (2012) by Frosch and Cribb introduces readers to a fascinating group of plants, the hardy slipper orchids. Interest in their culture has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly as the availability of easy to grow hybrids has risen dramatically over the past ten years. Stunning photography is used in order to let the plants tell their story pictorially, with text kept to a minimum. The species are comprehensively treated with photographs of the plants in their habitats, the inflorences and the floral details. Of course, other insights are included such as geographical distribution and information on each species.

You can browse a selection of images taken directly from the book in the gallery above.

Buy now - just £45.00

Q&A with the author

Following the recent publication of Hardy Cypredium, we speak to one of the authors, Phillip Cribb, to dig a little deeper into his passion for orchids.

1.) Where did your interest in orchids stem from, and how long did it take you to research and produce the title Hardy Cypripedium?

Kew's Sainsbury Project started in the early 1980s and I have been interested in the genus since the 1970s when I was asked to join the English Nature's Cypripedium Committee on behalf of Kew. I produced the definitive account of the genus, The Genus Cypripedium, for Kew in 1997 which stimulated international interest in the genus. In working on this book I visited many countries hunting hardy slipper orchids. Werner Frosch accompanied me on a memorable trip to China in the early 2000s. He is the leading breeder of hybrid cypripediums.

2.) What role does Kew have in protecting and preserving orchids for the future?

Kew has a major role to play through the Sainsbury Endangered Orchid Project and its successful attempts to propagate and reintroduce our native Lady's slipper orchid which had been reduced to a single wild plant in the North of England.

3.) Finally, the book covers hybrids as well as species. What's the most exotic / ornate looking orchid you've come across?

Of the wild species, I would pick two Cypripedium formosanum from Taiwan which features two fish-tailed leaves and a large pink flower and C. lichiangense which has two large spotted leaves and a sinister large yellow and maroon flower. I am particularly fond of the latter as my wife discovered it in a remote valley in western China.


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