The Orchids of the Sikkim-Himalaya - Book Review
Pros of the book:
• A near complete book on orchids found growing in tropical regions of the Indian sub-continent as well as in the South East Asian region. Rare, threatened as well as those orchids which are no longer found growing in these areas are also described in detail.
• It provides a detailed taxonomic identification followed by morphological details. Flowering season as well as area of distribution are also mentioned for each orchid.
• Plates are very skillfully drawn and if you can get your hands on the edition with colored plates, then wow! Though I would vouch even for the plain black and white drawings.
• The drawings are drawn to show the actual size, while those orchids which are small or tiny (e.g. Thelasis pygmea) are drawn enlarged to make the structure clearer.
Cons of the book
• It is a large book, difficult to carry on field trips (meant to be carried by dedicated souls or harassed doctorate students only!) and it is expensive. A better option would be to get it from a library as I did.
• The taxonomic details of orchids mentioned in the book needs to be checked, as many of these have been renamed or relocated in the taxonomic table.
• The status of many orchids mentioned in the book has changed over time. As many of the orchids which were easily available at the time when this book was written, are now quite rare.
• The biggest flaw, which I experienced while going through this book, was the separately placed drawings from the detailed explanation. You have to keep flipping back and forth while trying to read and match the orchids with their drawings.
I don't own this book, but I got it issued from the library when ever the need arose. Having said that, my recommendation would be to read this book at least once, you can gain good information on many of the tropical orchids.
If there is a book on orchids, which you feel needs a mention here, do let me know.
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Orchid Flora of Arunachal Pradesh
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