Cattleyas are frequently called "the Queen of the Orchids," and Carl Withner's passion for them started before World War II. About 12 years ago he published the first in this series of six books, which now comes to a conclusion with this final volume. The South American Encyclia species have not previously been the subject of a book, and the genus presents many problems and difficulties. A few of the species are known from a single herbarium specimen and may well now be extinct because of the continuing loss of habitat.
This volume also includes taxonomic and nomenclatural changes affecting species covered in the earlier volumes, as well as additions and changes to the text of each of the five volumes.
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First announced ten years ago as "A Book in Six Parts," this monumental series is now almost complete. Although Cattleya is the best-known genus, other rewards & mysteries are to be found here-why, for example, Laelia should occur in Mexico & Central America & in Brazil, but not in Colombia & Venezuela linking the two regions. The latest book in this important series on cattleyas & their relatives is the largest volume yet, documenting 70 species in 15 genera, including Brassavola, very popular among growers, & continuing the discussion of Encyclia begun with the Caribbean species in Volume IV.From the Inside Flap:
THE CATTLEYAS AND THEIR RELATIVESVolume VI: The South American Encyclia Species This is the final volume in a landmark treatise in six parts devoted to the genera of the Cattleya alliance, a series whose first volume appeared in 1988. This volume covers the species of Encyclia native to South America, a group of orchids that presents the researcher with many difficulties. The herbarium record is minimal on many of these species, and the original or type specimen may have been destroyed; photographs and even drawing may be lacking. There are formidable problems in identification, distribution, and nomenclature to be resolved, further complicated by the ongoing catastrophic loss of habitat. Carl Withner's extensive field experience, study and research are invaluable assets in brining order to this tangled genus, and providing the foundation for further work. This volume also includes an appendix of taxonomic and nomenclatural changes affecting species covered in the first five volumes, and a second appendix of changes and additions to the earlier volumes reflecting recent scholarship. Writing in the American Orchid Society Bulletin, Rebecca Northern said of the first volume: This is a book for all time. It and the five volumes to follow will form a grand addition to orchid libraries... (a) source of information for years to come. Now that this great work has been completed, her prediction seems to have been amply fulfilled.
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