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Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East Hardcover – 4 Oct 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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  • Field Guide to Orchids of Britain and Europe
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  • Field Guide to Wild Flowers of Southern Europe
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 3Rev Ed edition (4 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071367525X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713675252
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.8 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The photographs are excellent... [and] the text is very
informative... I do recommend this book to anyone with an interest in
European wild orchids." -- The Orchid Review, March/April 2007

"The book contains many superb photographs of the different orchid species and I spent several happy sessions looking up old friends found on European holidays. The descriptions of individual species are excellent and very detailed." -- Wild Flower Magazine, Summer 2007

About the Author

Pierre Delforge has studied orchids, observed the evolution of their habitats and protected them for more than 35 years in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He has written many publications on the subject and is an adviser on European orchids for the IUCN - The World Conservation Union.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book covering all species of orchid found in Europe (although plants that many authors regard as subspecies are given separate species status here). Each species is given a page of description covering Etymology, Plant Characteristics, Flowering, Habitat and Distribution Details. The accompanying photos for each species are excellent, and illustrate important plant characteristics very well.
All of this information is good, and contained within a compact, very portable guide, that can be easily carried in the field.

That said, there are three drawbacks to this book, the biggest of which is the lack of distribution maps for each species. The distribution text is often disappointingly brief (e.g. 'Mediterranean, east to the Transcaucasus'), and a list of countries is provided, with no hint as to how widely distributed a species is within each of those countries (exactly the information a map would provide).
A less serious drawback is that common names for widespread species are not included at all (although plenty of synonym and photo credit information is) - an omission that would make the book more intimidating and confusing to novices.
Finally, within the text there is no cross-referencing between similar species to help someone discriminate between them in the field. Each species is described in thorough botanical detail, but you will have to trawl through this for each species to decide which one you have seen. For Ophrys species, etc, this may take some time given the number of similar species! Parallel annotated drawings would be much quicker and easier to use.

This really is a good practical book, but perhaps the publishers could consider a slightly larger format in a future edition to accommodate some extra features to improve the book for less expert users.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is undoubtedly the most comprehensive book about wild orchids on the market at the moment. The photographs and drawings are good quality. It is incredibly detailed and is ideal for any one who is having difficulty distinguishing between similar species, or for deciding which species variant flowers belong to. I wish I has a copy before!
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Format: Hardcover
Whilst this is a phenomenal book with wonderful photos it is written using scientific terms and uses various keys to fit in a plethora of information. This has made it a bit of a challenge for me - as I am still a beginner at this. Having said that I think this is an essential addition to any Hardy Orchid lover's library and I'm sure I will use it more and more as I improve my knowledge. In the meantime I still find Simon and Ann Harrap's book on British Orchids easier to understand.
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Format: Hardcover
This comprehensive book covers the orchids of Europe and around the Mediterranean. It is not an easy book for the layman, requiring a degree of botanical knowledge, but for those who love orchids and want to understand them, this is essential reading. His keys are logically laid out. The larger genera (e.g. Ophrys and Orchis) have keys to the group level and then keys for the group which lead to the species. However these keys are not easy to use. The illustrations are clear and species descriptions comprehensive. If you are a "splitter", this is the book, but "lumpers" would probably prefer to look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps it's pointless to criticize a field guide for being frankly boring, rather than being an aesthetically pleasing experience. Still, we are spoiled with field guides in Sweden that actually are aesthetically pleasing. I'm referring, of course, to Lars Jonsson's books on birds, and the books on orchids and mushrooms illustrated by Bo Mossberg. Maybe that's why I was disappointed by Pierre Delforge's field guide to the orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. I mean, a book about *orchids* that make you yawn, or wish you were somewhere else entirely? But then, perhaps I'm unfair. After all, the point of this field guide is to identify orchids in the field, not necessarily to show them from their best side...

"Orchids of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East" is a comprehensive field guide and reference work, covering over 500 species of wild orchids found in Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Israel, Syria, Jordan and the Sinai. All of Europe is covered, including Russia west of the Urals. So are the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. Most species are illustrated with photographs, both a photo showing the entire plant, and close ups on the flowers. (The Ophrys species are only illustrated with close ups.) Two rare species from Algeria are illustrated by colour drawings, presumably because no photos of them exist. Each species presentation contains a detailed description of the plant, information on its scientific name, habitat and approximate range. The most common pollinators of each species are also mentioned, as are hybrids and aberrant varieties. Identification keys are included. One negative is that no vernacular names are included, giving the guide as a somewhat "elitist", "professional botanists only" impression.
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