First announced in the ORN in July 1995, the preparation of Genera Orchidacearum: Classification and Phylogeny of the World's Orchid Genera is now underway! We anticipate publication in five volumes over a five-year period as follows:

    1998: Subfamilies Apostasioideae and Cypripedioideae
    1999: Subfamily Orchidoideae
    2000: Subfamily Spiranthoideae
    2001: Subfamily Epidendroideae, part 1
    2002: Subfamily Epidendroideae, part 2; summary and final classification

Each volume will have two parts. Part I will comprise the introduction with summary treatments of morphology, anatomy, cytology, ecology, biogeography, molecular systematics, and evolution. Following will be a history of the relevant classification as well as descriptions with keys to the subfamily (subfamilies), tribes, and subtribes. Part II will comprise the generic descriptions themselves with complete nomenclature and type citation, distribution (as many maps as possible), and treatments of anatomy, palynology, embryology, cytogenetics, ecology, phenology and pollination, phytochemistry, phylogenetics, cultivation (brief), economic uses, and concluding with taxonomic notes and select bibliography. Each genus will be illustrated ideally by at least one diagnostic line drawing (perhaps one representing each section in larger genera as Bulbophyllum and Dendrobium) and at least one distribution map. We hope to include a colour photograph or watercolour of at least one species in every genus. Roughly 75% of all genera are represented by watercolours at Kew. Endmatter in each volume will include a glossary, literature cited, and indices of subjects and scientific names. Best of all, our prospective publisher has agreed to make the volumes available at affordable retail prices!

The project will be very similar in style and format to Genera Palmarum by Natalie Uhl and John Dransfield but will differ in utilizing molecular data and phylogenetics. This framework and emphasis on generic relationships will distinguish it from related books now available and those in progress.

Editors for the project will be Phillip Cribb, Alec Pridgeon, Mark Chase, and Finn Rasmussen, who will select a team of contributors to represent not only specific disciplines of expertise but also specific taxa and floras for which they are authorities.

Ending with the obligatory appeal, we desperately need material of correctly identified taxa in subfamily Spiranthoideae, Habenaria, and Asian Orchidoideae. If you can supply living plants, leaves, or flowers or if you would be willing to send us samples of same in silica gel (which we could provide) along with voucher material for molecular work, please let me know so that we can mail you bags of silica gel along with brief instructions for preparation. Total DNA extracted will be deposited in Kew's DNA bank, which will serve not only Genera Orchidacearum but also anyone working on molecular systematics of orchids now or in the future.

This promises to be the most scientifically authoritative and comprehensive study of orchid genera and phylogeny ever attempted, but we do need your help to ensure that there are no gaps in coverage of taxa.

Alec Pridgeon
tel: 44-(0)181-332-5360
fax: 44-(0)181-332-5310

News from correspondents

Last Updated September 3, 1998.
Copyright The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.