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By Merle A Reinikka

An enticing account of humanity's turning out to be fascination with orchids from precedent days onward, including a biographical gallery of fifty nice scientists, naturalists, and explorers who contributed to our wisdom of orchids. The nomenclature and bibliography were up to date for this variation.

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Henry N. Ellacombe concluded that the "grosser name" given by the shepherds referred to Fool's Stonesthe common name given to Orchis masculaand that Shakespeare had really made reference to that species as being woven into Ophelia's garlands. Opinions vary that Shakespeare was either inexact in his use of plant names or that the common names of the various species of Orchis were loosely designated in his day. It is possible, also, that poetic license was taken simply for the sake of meter. In any case, though Shakespeare was in error, his reference is another worthwhile glimpse of the orchids as known in the times of the herbalists.

It was also the home of the famous naturalist-botanist G. E. Rumphius, who arrived in Ambon in 1653, a twenty-five-year-old clerk hired by the Dutch East India Company. Under a special retainer status he later spent his time in the self-appointed work of collecting, identifying, describing, and illustrating the indigenous flora of Ambon. He was the first to find and describe any member of the genus Phalaenopsis, the name then assigned being Angraecum album majus. The plants remained relatively unknown, though, until 1825, when the Dutch botanist, Karl Ludwig Blume, established the genus upon his rediscovery of the same species, known thereafter as Phalaenopsis amabilis.

Victor Ruta of Salem, New Hampshire, for which I am profoundly appreciative. Page xv Finally, I am indebted for valuable advice and constructive criticism to Mr. Gordon W. Dillon, executive secretary of the American Orchid Society, Inc. His knowledge of orchid history plus his understanding of the difficulty involved with historical compilation were invaluable determinants in all phases of the History. On the journalistic level, his broad experience has provided a reservoir of kindly and charitable guidance.

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