Orchids of the Tropical New World. Icones Plantarum Tropicarum Series I & II and Icones Orchidacearum Collections. CD-ROM. 1996. Published by Lightbinders Inc., 2325 Third Street, Suite 324, San Francisco, CA 94107, U.S.A. Price: $149.95, direct from Lightbinders.
Have you ever considered moving house because your orchid library is beginning to take up all your wall space? If so, Lightbinders "Orchids of the Tropical New World" could be the answer to your prayers. Here, two metres of orchid literature shelf space is compressed onto a single disc measuring 10.5 cm in diameter. Assuming that you have a Macintosh or IBM-compatible PC running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 with a CD-ROM player, you can access all of the 2400 species' accounts, illustrations, and distribution maps so far published in the two series of Icones Plantarum Tropicarum and Icones Orchidacearum.
As a neophyte to CD-ROM technology, I attempted to load and access "Orchids of the Tropical New World" without assistance, using the leaflet provided by the publisher. Within five minutes I had loaded the software to run the CD twice and was ferreting about in the first part of the Icones Plantarum Tropicarum. This contrasted with earlier attempts at accessing other packages where I rapidly ran out of options and had to seek expert help.
What does the CD-Rom contain? You will find everything that has been published to date in the 24 parts that make up these three series: for each species its nomenclature, bibliography, description, distribution and distribution map, habitat, flowering season, and a black-and-white line illustration. In addition you should read the informative introduction which is accompanied by a helpful consolidated index. My PC brought up the illustrations and maps reasonably well, and a thumbnail is provided to magnify them. This works efficiently, and they do print out well.
I can recommend this publication which will give hours of fun and an education to those interested in tropical American orchids. The current disc covers perhaps a fifth to a quarter of the known species, and I look forward to updates. The disc currently retails at US $149.95, a bargain when you consider the outlay of over $700 for the complete set of 24 parts that are included.
Icones Pleurothallidinarum XIII. Systematics of Restrepia (Orchidaceae). By Carlyle Luer. 1996. Pp. 168, 16 colour plates, 63 line drawings, paper cover. Missouri Botanical Garden. Price: unknown.
Additions to Dr. Luer's magnificent series of monographs on the genera of the Pleurothallidinae appear as regularly as Christmas dinners. How does he manage it and also produce the magnificent Thesaurus Masdevalliarum and Thesaurus Dracularum series? This account of the genus Restrepia is the thirteenth in an Icones series of a high standard, particularly in its presentation and quality.
Restrepia is a well-known genus to orchid growers, many collections having the occasional plant or two, usually misnamed as Restrepia antennifera. They flower regularly and generously and can form specimen plants without too much attention from the grower. This monograph will, I am sure, make growers appreciate their charges more and seek out further species in a genus which makes up for dwarf stature by floriferous nature.
The format of the Icones is now well established and this one is no exception. The introduction covers the history, morphology, distribution, and taxonomy of the genus. Two keys to the species are provided: one a standard dichotomous key, much loved by taxonomists but usually ignored by others, the other a rapid identification list, giving key features for each of the species. The author recognises 48 species in three subgenera in this account. Each species' account includes the following: nomenclature, bibliography, description, distribution and distribution map, a list of specimens examined, and a discussion. One of the author's clear and spare line drawings accompanies the text. The publishers are to be commended for providing a splendid collection of colour photographs, 66 in total. The quality of these is magnificent and will help immensely with identification problems, because some species are highly variable in flower markings.
I use the Icones regularly to identify and name living and preserved specimens and find the taxonomy sound and the keys easy to use. The drawings are clear and allow easy confirmation of identifications. Needless to say I look forward to part XIV and have no doubt that it will appear as Christmas 1997 approaches -- another ideal Christmas present for the devoted pleurothallophile!
El Genero Lepanthes Sw. en Mexico. By G. A. Salazar Chavez and M. A. Soto Arenas. 1996. Orquidea(Méx.) vol. 14, pp. 231, 77 line drawings, 75 colour photographs, hard cover.
The Mexican species of another pleurothallid genus, Lepanthes, are the subject of this detailed study by Gerardo Salazar and Miguel Soto. The style is similar to that of Luer's Icones Pleuthallidinarum, and the content also resembles that august series in the number of new taxa described in it. It never ceases to amaze me how much we still have to learn about orchids.
The introduction includes discussions on morphology, distribution, sympatry, habitat, floral biology, natural hybridisation, population dynamics, conservation, taxonomy, and a key to the species. Handy comparative plates of line drawings of the flowers of the species accompany the key. Sixty species, 35 new to science, and two natural hybrids are included here. Each species account includes nomenclature, bibliography, description, etymology, distribution, ecology, conservation status, and taxonomic notes. The line drawings match the high standard we have come to expect from previous volumes of Orquidea (Méx.), of which this constitutes the fourteenth volume. Unusually, it is hardback, a welcome change as my well-used earlier volumes are beginning to fall apart at the seams.
Although the main text is in Spanish, a useful English summary and English translation of the key to the species are provided. I thoroughly recommend this careful account based on several years of field work by the authors.
Lasianthera: The scientific journal for the Orchidaceae of Papua New Guinea. Published by the National Capital Botanic Gardens, P. O. Box 7270, NCD, Papua New Guinea. Price: unknown.
The first part of a new journal dedicated to the rich orchid flora of Papua New Guinea has appeared. It contains five articles by Mark Clements and David Jones of the National Botanical Garden, Canberra, ACT, Australia, including descriptions of new species in Paphiopedilum, Cymbidium, Vanilla, Crepidium (Malaxis), and Dendrobiinae, including some of the genera recognised by Brieger in Die Orchideen ed. 3.
It is unclear who the editors and referees of this attractively produced publication are. Indeed no contact address is provided, although I assume it is the one in Papua New Guinea given above. Similarly the remit of the journal as given on the back page, viz. "Lasianthera publishes original papers on all Scientific [sic] aspects of Orchidaceae", seems wider than that given in the title, bringing it into potential rivalry with Lindleyana.
Brieger, F. G., R. Maatsch, and K. Senghas (eds.). 1995. R. Schlechter's Die Orchideen ed. 3. Band 1/B. 32 Lieferung. Bogen 124-128. Blackwell Wissenschafts Verlag, Berlin. Price: unknown.
Part 32 of this monumental work has now appeared. It covers three subtribes: Notyliinae, Capanemiinae, and Trichopiliinae, comprising 30 genera. Of these some such as Notylia, Trichopilia, Capanemia, Cochlioda, and Leucohyle will be relatively well known, but many others, including Sarmenticola, Cypholoron, Stictophyllorchis, Surezia, Konantzia, and Hirtzia, are seldom encountered by scientists or horticulturists.
The quality of the taxonomic treatment is excellent, a clear summary of our current understanding of these obscure genera. Keys are provided at the generic level and often to the species within a genus. Useful keys here include those to Trichopilia, Cischweinfia, and Cochlioda. Each genus is illustrated by at least one line drawing and one photograph, the horticulturally interesting species being more widely covered.
The concluding parts of this comprehensive foray into orchid systematics will be published soon, including all the genera of the Oncidiinae, an eagerly awaited climax to a work whose quality has significantly improved since its faltering start in the 1970s.
Contributions to the Orchid Flora of Thailand XII. By G. Seidenfaden. 1995. In Opera Botanica 1245-90. Price: 345 DKK (Subscription 285 DKK).
Dr. Seidenfaden's comprehensive account of the orchid flora of Thailand, published between 1969 and 1988, is the essential reference for all orchid work in the region. The combination of detailed nomenclatural and distributional information, sound taxonomy, detailed explanatory notes, specimen citations for Thailand and neighbouring countries, clear yet detailed black-and-white line drawings, and a liberal supply of colour photographs, has set a standard for later publications. This present paper conforms to these standards.
It includes descriptions of 16 new species in the genera Bulbophyllum, Cleisostoma, Cyrtosia, Dendrobium, Gastrochilus, Habenaria, Ione, Oberonia, Phaius, and Platanthera. New combinations are made in Acriopsis, Ascidieria, Chiloschista, Cleisostoma, Didymoplexis, Eria, Ione, Oberonia and Phreatia. A number of new records are also included. The most notable change to previous treatments of Thai orchids is the reinstatement of Cirrhopetalum as a genus, following the recent publication of Garay, Hamer and Siegerist (1994) in the Nordic Journal of Botany.
Last Updated September 3, 1998.
© Copyright The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.