Extraordinary Orchids reveals the weird and wonderful lifestyles of this most diverse of plant families, with stunning artwork by the Bauer brothers, Sydney Parkinson, Arthur Harry Church and many more.
Orchids fascinate. Parts of the orchid flower have shapes unlike any other flowering plant, and the sheer number of species means they have a seemingly endless ability to create ever more fantastical forms.
Extraordinary Orchids tells the stories behind some of the bizarre life-styles and interactions that botanists have uncovered amongst many species of the orchid family: the epiphytic orchids, the ground-dwelling ones, the insect-mimicking ones and those whose lifestyles are so closely bound to their interactions with hidden partners such as fungi.
Many orchid common names refer to the shape-shifting forms of the orchid flower – the ‘man-orchids’ or ‘monkey-orchids’ are so called because of their resemblance to the primate form. Orchids lend themselves to depiction, and botanical artworks of them abound. Who could resist painting or drawing such odd shapes?