on 4 February 2005
Overall this book is very good, and is certainly very useful in the field. The only downside is that it seems that quite a few of the photo's are either the same or very similar to Lang's previous guide. Also some of the photo's are a bit poor and a bit fuzzy, i.e Creeping Lady's Tresses. But overall a good guide and good value for money.
on 4 November 2009
For several years now, WILDGuides have been setting the standard for small, handy field guides that focus mainly on the identification of neglected groups of wildlife. Their approach is characterised by portability, emphasis on visual utility (the use of computer enhanced photographs) and a significant contribution to conservation. The latter is achieved in two ways: firstly by getting these guides into the hands of the public at very competitive prices (WILDGuides is a non-profit publisher) and secondly by donating all profits to conservation organisations that work on the area or organisms treated by each guide.
This book is a comprehensive photographic guide to the wild orchids of Britain and Ireland, covering all subspecies and varieties of the 51 confirmed species, plus 9 of dubious provenance. Its 59 full colour photographic plates with facing text provide the best tool to identify all the region's orchids.
At the heart of the guide are the photographs, which depict each species of orchid in its natural habitats, as well as showing the flowers up close. The informative text deals primarily with identification characteristics and includes a handy section on similar species as well as information on habitat, pollination and conservation. Distribution is shown on a clear annotated map. The text itself is authoritative and makes for fascinating reading. One is struck, above all, by just how many species are of conservation concern.
Two nice features are the ten page "key" to orchid flowers at the beginning of the book, followed by a comparative bar chart indicating flowering periods.
And since WILDGuides is a non-profit organisation that supports conservation throughout the world, you are helping ensure that the wildlife you enjoy today will still be there for others to enjoy tomorrow. In this case, profits from the book go to the The Wildlife Trusts.
In sum, this is THE handy guide to Britain's orchids, an essential addition to the naturalist's library. Highly recommended for naturalists and horticulturalists alike.
Chris Sharpe, 4 November 2009. ISBN-10: 1-903657-06-7
on 9 January 2013
I'm no botanist - I bought it for my wife - but this looks to me like an excellently produced hardback book of high quality following the classically clear layout expected of WILDGuides. A mine of easily assimilated information. If anything, it seems rather too good to take into the field. :) My wife likes it a lot, too.
on 15 June 2014
A brilliant book, I would highly recommend it to anyone, whether they be a botanist or an amateur. The pictures are very detailed, the description of each species is very thorough, plenty of detail but not too scientific, everyone could read & understand it. I've recommended to my botany group & several people have ordered it already.
on 8 November 2012
This pocketable volume is a mine of information on Britain's orchids. Early sections deal with the definition of what an orchid is, their construction, reproduction and pollination, hybridisation and habitats. Individual species descriptions give an indication of abundance, measurements and flowering period as well as distribution. The photographs show the plants and where appropriate close-up of flower head or individual floret. These descriptions are preceded by a useful illustrated key to identification and chart of flowering periods and are followed by a glossary of technical terms, a list of species (other than the orchids themselves) mentioned in the text by common and scientific name. The book concludes with an index of English and scientific names of the orchids following information on useful contacts.
This is a concise, durable, portable, hardback volume that should be part of any orchid enthusiast's traveling library.
on 2 July 2014
I'm not sure how much this will aid my ability to identify some of the orchids I find, but it is a joy to browse nevertheless.
A pity much of the nomenclature and some classifications changed after it was published. The serious student would be wise to spend a couple of hours on the Internet, updating the systematic names.
The photos are very good, the text is clear, and it seems pretty comprehensive.