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The New RHS Dictionary Manual of Orchids Hardcover – 8 Sep 1995


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The wealth of information of culture of specific genera and the inexpensive cost of the book make this a necessary addition to the bookshelf of anyone remotely interested in orchids. -- Gary J. Wilfret "HortScience" (12/01/1996) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Very good but not fantastic 17 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
(Note, I would have given it 3 1/2 stars if that were an option.)
When I read the Book News and Book List blurbs that claim this book includes entries for "all orchid species, grexes, and cultivars" I had to write to note that that statement is utter nonsense. (I also note that they both suspiciously use the exact same words -- a publisher's press release perhaps?)
The short answer is that if you are a beginner, don't count on this book to teach you how to grow orchids. If you are more advanced, it's useful, but don't expect it to be the end all and be all of references. Realistically though, it may well be as complete a single reference as one will find. (Although I haven't done a very close comparison with the Manual of Cultivated Orchids, I have found entries here for plants not included in the latter, although at least that one purports only to include those in cultivation.)
The manual's coverage is very extensive, and probably does contain references to "all better-known species and a number of lesser known ones as well," but given that there are on the order of 25,000 orchid species and the hybrids run into the hundreds of thousands, the quoted statement is just plain silly. From my own experience, it makes no mention of several species orchids I just bought, which were by no means recently discovered/collected in the wilds of South America and India. Although it mentions two of the best known species of Chinese cymbidium, it doesn't mention a single cultivar, of which there are at least several very long established (for decades if not centuries), well-known examples.
Finally, the cultural notes are not unhelpful, but are very oversimplified and sketchy. (One, more obvious, example is that not all Masdevallias and Cymbidiums are cool growing, and it makes no mention at all of exceptions to the so-called rule.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Superior illustrations 23 Feb 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm fairly new to orchid zealotry (about 3 years), mostly as a result of friends dumping their distressed plants on me because of my inexplicable success bringing neglected orchids back to health and happiness.

I've branched out from safe orchids like paphs and phals to neofinetias, laelias, blc's, zygos, oncidiums, dendrobiums, and burragearas. Because I receive so many plants in their non-flowering state, it is practically impossible for me to determine certain species, particularly if they are hybrids. And because of my ignorance, I am sometimes unable to determine even simple species.

The Manual of Orchids helps me with the aforementioned problems by doing something that no other orchid book I've seen does: provide illustrations of the ENTIRE plant. Most books focus on zoom photos of the blooms at their peak. You almost never see orchid books that take the care to photograph the blooms within the context of the entire plant. Seeing the entire plant helps us newbies understand total plant anatomy, rather than focusing solely on flowers (which is, to be honest, like expecting someone to understand homo sapiens anatomy based solely on photos of the human face!).

The bibliography of the 1995 edition I borrowed from the library cites 7 sources for illustrations. All of them are excellent. I'm eager to see how the edition listed above improves with the addition of nearly 50 pages.
Great Book 2 July 2013
By Nancy Horn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Book, just as advertised, in good condition. Now all I have to do is read it. Thank you very much.
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