This book was published in the year 1998 and is authored by H.J. Chowdhery. It is written in English and contains brief description of orchids found growing in different regions in the state of Arunachal Pradesh (India). Many of the orchids mentioned in the book are found growing in other regions of Asia as well. The orchids in the book are explained with the help of 423 line drawings and 105 colored plates. It starts with an incredible photograph of Papilionanthe teres growing in a big bunch, hanging from telephone wires! It is followed by other good photographs of orchids.
Pros of the book:
• Orchids are arranged alphabetically according to their genera, making it easier to locate a particular orchid.
• Each orchid is described in brief, with taxonomic explanation followed by the morphological description. So you can find out the old as well as the new name of the orchid. Flowering and fruiting season also finds a brief mention.
• Distribution and altitudinal range for each orchid is also provided in the book.
• The author has also taken pains to indicate the location of the epiphytic orchids on the host trees and of terrestrial orchids in the forest.
• Apart from the description, the line drawings of the orchids make identification easier. These are placed along with the description details, so that you do not need to flip back and forth from text to plates.
• The line drawings contain figures of the whole plant, inflorescence and sometimes the flower. Depending upon the size, the drawings of the floral parts is given for smaller flowers.
• Many of the old names are not mentioned in the taxonomic description, so if you are searching an orchid using its previous name then you just might not find.
• It would have been better if the line drawing were in color and scale provided along. Instead of line drawings if all orchids were accompanied with color plates, the book’s worth would have been much more. Floral parts are drawn for some the orchids only.
• The description could have been expanded. The variation in the leaf colour or the size of the flowers hardly finds any mention.
• If ecological notes were more detailed, the orchid growers could have benefitted more. It would have been easier to understand the natural/climatic requirements of these orchids.
As compared to the other books on orchid flora of Asian region, this book adequately documents the orchids. I would recommend that in case you are unable to get “The Orchids of Sikkim Himalayas”, this book can fill in. Though not of same high quality, but keeping in mind the amount of available resources at that time as compared to those of present times, this book is OK. It would be helpful to the beginners and to orchidists who are not acquainted with the orchids of the Asian region.
The book in my possession was bought from the used books market, during the course of my study. I paid for it from my own funds. If you too have a book (related to orchids only!) that is worth reading please let me know.