Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226779676 Will Publish March 2021 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.

Extraordinary Orchids

Sandra Knapp

Extraordinary Orchids

Sandra Knapp

With a Foreword by Mark W. Chase
160 pages | 140 color plates, 7 halftones | 10 x 13 | © 2021
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226779676 Will Publish March 2021 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9780226779706 Will Publish March 2021 For sale in North and South America only
Perching on tropical trees, partnering with fungi to reproduce, or deceiving birds and amorous insects to promote pollination, orchids fascinate. In the exquisitely illustrated Extraordinary Orchids, award-winning botanist and writer Sandra Knapp tells the stories behind some of the bizarre lifestyles and interactions that scientists have uncovered among many species of the orchid family.

Orchids deserve such a visual celebration: parts of the orchid flower have shapes unlike any other flowering plant, and the sheer number of species means they have a seemingly endless ability to create ever more fantastical forms. In fact, many orchid common names refer to the shape-shifting forms of their flowers—the “man-orchids” or “monkey-orchids” are so called because of their resemblance to the primate form. Orchids lend themselves to depiction, and botanical artworks of them abound. Who could resist painting or drawing such odd shapes?

Illustrated with stunning artwork, much from the archives of the Natural History Museum in London and never before published, Extraordinary Orchids includes depictions from celebrated botanical artists such as Ferdinand and Franz Bauer, Arthur Harry Church, and Sydney Parkinson, revealing the weird and wonderful lives of this most diverse of plant families.


Life in the air

Roots of love

Monstrous forms


Cunning deceivers



Illustration index

Review Quotes
Meg Lowman, executive director, TREE Foundation, and author of "Life in the Treetops" and "It’s a Jungle Up There"
“Orchid lovers, old and new, are sure to enjoy this stunning celebration of the world’s largest flowering plant family—their bizarre partnerships, their amazing beauty, their pollinators, their diverse habitats, and their wonderful coloration and shapes.”
Sir Peter Crane, president, Oak Spring Garden Foundation
“Knapp is a terrific scientist and an excellent communicator of science to broad audiences. This book pairs her entertaining prose with the all-time greats of botanical illustration. Readers will also be delighted by the orchids themselves and their astonishing biology.”
Booklist, on Knapp's "Plant Discoveries"
“An internationally acclaimed botanist and taxonomy expert, Knapp presents the legend and the lore, the data and the details . . . highlighted by exceptional, never-before-published treasures from the museum’s extensive archives.”
Science, on Knapp's "Plant Discoveries"
“Scientific, historic, and cultural perspectives on plants that have been gathered from around the globe.”
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