Distinguished by a prominent pouchlike sac which resembles a ballroom slipper and often decorated with warts, hairs, or stripes, the flowers of slipper orchids may be ugly or pretty, depending on your point of view. In either case, they are captivating to amateur and professional orchids growers alike and indeed may be the most poplar group of orchids in cultivation.
The tropical slipper orchids in cultivation come from two major genera, Paphiopedilum from Southeast Asia and Phragmipedium from Central and South America, and one minor genus, Mexipedium from Mexico. Tens of thousands of hybrids have been made using paphiopedilums and phragmipediums, and each year hundreds more are introduced. All are surrounded by mystique, and all can be grown as houseplants or greenhouse plants.
Descriptions of the species are organized into alliances which are of horticultural importance. The five most important species for breeding exciting hybrids are treated in a separate chapter. The last ten chapters introduce the best and mnost desirable hybrids, again by alliance.
Connoisseurs and beginners alike will find this a useful reference to one of the most intriguing groups of orchids.
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If orchids have a mystique that sets them above other plants, then slipper orchids must assuredly represent the cr ??me de la cr ??me, the royalty of the orchid world. Distinguished from other orchids by a prominent slipper-shaped lip, their curious flowers are sometimes majestic, sometimes bizarre. These captivating plants have entranced orchid growers for 150 years and may be the most popular group of orchids in cultivation. They are also among the easiest orchids to grow and flower. In this horticultural account of the group, noted plant biologist and former professional orchid grower Harold Koopowitz concentrates on tropical slipper orchids in genus Paphiopedilum from Southeast Asia and genus Phragmipedium from Central and South America, including one former phragmipedium from Mexico now in its own genus, Mexipedium. Descriptions of the cultivated species and the best and most desirable of the tens of thousands of hybrids are arranged by horticulturally important alliances. While the engaging text is filled with tips and advice for growing these intriguing plants, it also provides comprehensive information on their history, biology, ecology, and conservation. A bonus for enthusiasts who want to flower orchids they have raised is the detailed explanation of modern methods of propagation and breeding. Specialist collectors and hobbyists with only a windowsill to devote to orchids will find a wealth of information in this authoritative reference. The 359 sttunning illustrations include watercolors by Carol Woodin and special photography by James Comstock.About the Author:
Harold Koopowitz is Professor of Ecology at the University of California at Irvine. Previously, he was the Director of the University of California at Irvine Arboretum for twenty years when it specialized in African bulbous and cormous plants. Koopowitz has long-standing interests in the hybridization of a variety of specialist plants, including slipper orchids, daffodils, and clivias. He has traveled extensively to study orchids in the wild, and is diligent in his efforts to encourage discussion about endangered plants. The results of his devotion include numerous scientific papers on orchids, deforestation, and the effects of long conversion on plant extinctions. He is a long-standing member of the conservation committee of the American Orchid Society and a member of the Orchid Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission. Koopowitz is the author of several books on horticulture and conservation, including Orchids and Their Conservation, and is currently editor-in-chief for the Orchid Digest. He resides in Santa Ana, California.
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