The mysterious orchid has been used and admired since ancient times. Confucius praised the orchid's beauty 2500 years ago, and the ancient Greeks dried its roots for use in medicine. In medieval times, orchids were believed to have magical aphrodisiac qualities, and early herbalists thought orchids were the food of satyrs. Today the tens of thousands of orchid species that have been discovered over the centuries comprise the most varied and highly evolved family of the entire plant kingdom, and new orchid species are still being discovered in the wild.
Today also, tropical forests are a source of commercial gain, with the result that many natural orchid species are presently in danger through destruction of habitat, a danger originating in Victorian times when orchid hunters scoured tropical lands for specimens of this very fashionable plant.
Peter Arnold's luminous photographs are presented here along with the fascinating history of orchids, and an extensive section on growing orchids that outlines the surprisingly simple requirements for success in maintaining these exotic plants in the home or greenhouse. Lists of orchid suppliers and societies allow the hobbyist to obtain plants, tools, or advice, and guide the curious enthusiast to orchid shows and other orchid-related events.
Photographer Arnold has traveled over the world photographing orchids in all of their vibrant colors and sensual, even bizarre shapes. Flowers from the most common Cattleya to the lesser-known species of Dendrobium and Paphiopedilum with common names such as 'Moth orchid,' and 'Dancing Lady orchid,' 'Bubblegum orchid,' and 'Swan orchid' are an inspiring visual feast, and a testament to the genius of nature.
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The beauty and diversity of the orchid family has never been more gloriously presented than in Peter Arnold's Orchids. When a pictorial and reference book of this quality is offered, all plant lovers benefit, from the aficionado to the beginner.
Donald E. Herman
American Orchid Society
Peter Arnold's striking flower photographs have made his name internationally known. Originally a fashion photographer, Arnold has redirected his eye for dynamic form to his botanical work, which is instilled with an austere sensuality. His popular previous flower book, Tulips, introduced Arnold's strong use of graphic design and color, and his work has been exhibited by both Ilford and Kodak. Arnold currently lives in Santa Barbara, California, and divides his time between America, Europe, and the Orient.
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