Phalaenopsis: A Monograph

Przednia okładka
Timber Press, Incorporated, 30 paź 2009 - 396
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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.

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Informacje o autorze (2009)

In nature, Phalaenopsis occurs mostly in three distinct habitats: seasonally dry areas, seasonally cool areas, and constantly moist or humid areas. The plants show adaptations to each of these. Phalaenopsis species that grow in monsoonal areas with a pronounced wet and dry cycle have adapted to the stress of the dry season in several ways. One method of adapatation is to become directly adapted to xerophytic conditions by increased succulence. This may be the approach taken by P. cornu-cervi and related species, which have much thicker leaves and roots than other species of similar vegetative size. Unsubstantiated reports claim that in at least part of its range P. cornu-cervi is semideciduous, dropping a portion of its leaves toward the end of the dry season as a final response to extreme dessication. Certainly a precedent for this survival strategy exists in related genera such as Aerides and Vanda. This may not be a direct adaptation to seasonal dryness, however, because P. pantherina, a sister species to P. cornu-cervi, is recorded from high in the forest canopy, where it is exposed to bright diffuse light unlike most of the other species in Borneo, which occur toward the base of trees under low-light conditions. This increased succulence may simply be a response to degree of exposure independent of seasonal dryness. The most extreme form of adaptation seem in Phalaenopsis species native to seasonally dry habitats is a deciduous habit. Leaves are the primary route by which water is transpired from a plant; as such, they are a significant liability during drought conditions, and their loss is a common adaptation to a seasonally severe water deficit. This adaptation is seen in several primarily Himalayan groups of Phalaenopsis, including subgenera Aphyllae, Parishianae, and Proboscidioides. Not surprisingly, this extreme adaptation is not seen in those members of the genus with centers of distribution outside of the Himalayan region, where the wet-dry cycle is less pronounced. While the species in these three subgenera may retain some leaves during the dry season, and usually do so under the mild conditions offered by horticulture, in most cases all their leaves are shed over the course of the dry season.

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