Book List

Books on orchids appear at an alarming rate! All are different, and have their own particular merits, so we don't attempt to make comparisons. This Book List is divided into several categories covering General European Guides, Regional guides, Cultivation & Propagation, and General Topics. Within each category, books are listed alphabetically by Author's surname. Note that some of the older titles are out of print but may be obtainable in second-hand shops. If you know of a good orchid book that should be listed here, but isn't, please send full information (and comments) to Bill Temple.

Follow these internal links to the various sections of this page.

General Britain Europe N America Rest of World Cultivation


General guides to European Orchids


Baumann, Helmut and Kunkele, Siegfried : Die Orchideen Europas

Kosmos, 1988, ISBN 3 440 05829 8

A compact pocket book, with excellent photographs and brief descriptions of nearly 300 species and sub-species. (In German).


Buttler, Karl Peter : Field Guide to Orchids of Britain and Europe

Crowood, 1991, ISBN 1 85223 591 8

English translation from the original German of a detailed identification guide, fully illustrated in colour.


Cribb, Phillip : The Genus Cypripedium

Timber Press Inc., 1997, ISBN 0 88192 403 2

An authoritative monograph covering the history, biology, conservation, cultivation and classification of all Cypripedium species recognised when the book went to print, complete with 97 colour photographs and 26 superb paintings.


Davies, Paul, Davies, Jenne and Huxley, Anthony : Wild Orchids of Britain and Europe

Hogarth, 1988, ISBN 0 7012 0820 1

The essential field guide to European orchids, when published. Includes a country by country guide to orchid opportunities and many small colour photographs.


Delforge, Pierre : Orchids of Britain and Europe (1st Edition)

Harper Collins, 1995, ISBN 0 00 220024 4

English translation from the original French of a detailed identification guide, fully illustrated in colour. Contains many "species" that are not universally recognised. The author prefers the French version!


Delforge, Pierre : Guide des Orchidees d'Europe, d'Afrique et du Proche-Orient

Delachaux et Nestle, 2001

A completely new edition, expanded from 482 "species" in the above book, to 594 "species". The book contains many new and revised colour photographs. The taxonomy used is controversial as before, and does not recognise the recent revisions (particularly to Orchis) proposed by Bateman et al. (In French).


Duperrex, A. : Orchids of Europe

Blandford, 1961

An English translation by A. J. Huxley of a 1955 Swiss publication providing a view of European orchids from half a century ago.


Landwehr, J. : Les Orchidees Sauvage de Suisse et d'Europe, Books 1 and 2

Roger Veihl S.A. Geneva, 1982 and 1983

The most authoritative books of their day on European orchids. (In French).


Nilsson, S and Mossberg, B. : Orchids of Northern Europe

Penguin Harmondsworth, 1979, ISBN 0 14 0630147

Excellent paintings of the above ground parts of the plants, shown against habitat backgrounds.


William, J. G., Williams, A. E. and Arlott, N. : A Field Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Europe

Collins, London, 1985, ISBN 0 00 219314 0

Excellent paintings of the whole plant, including tubers or rhizomes. Common names in French, German and Italian are given.

Top of this page

Great Britain


Allen, Brian and Woods, Patrick : Wild Orchids of Scotland

HMSO, 1993, ISBN 0 11 494246 3

The definitive work on Scottish orchids, lavishly illustrated with photographs by Sidney Clarke.


Brooke, Jocelyn : The Wild Orchids of Britain

The Bodley Head Ltd., 1950

A limited edition, limited to 140 numbered copies. Considered to be the ultimate book at the time it was published.


Foley, Michael & Clarke, Sidney : Orchids of the British Isles

Griffen Press., 2005 ISBN 90 806626 3 1 

A excellent, large, heavy book. 

Reviewed in Journal of Hardy Orchid Soc Vol 2 No 4


Godfery, Col. M. J. : Monograph and Iconograph of Native British Orchidacea

Cambridge University Press, 1933

A scholarly and authoritative volume, the best of its day.


Harrap, Anne & Simon : Orchids of Britain and Ireland - a Field & Site Guide

A & C Black, London, 2005 ISBN 0 7136 6956 X

Reviewed in Journal of Hardy Orchid Soc Vol 2 No 4


Jenkinson, Martin : Wild Orchids of Dorset

Orchid Sundries, 1991, ISBN 1 873035 02 0

A species-by-species account of the orchids of Dorset, with distribution maps and photographs by the author.


Jenkinson, Martin : Wild Orchids of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Orchid Sundries, 1995, ISBN 1 873035 03 9

A species-by-species account of the orchids of Hampshire and the IoW, with distribution maps and photographs by the author.


Lang, David : Wild Orchids of Sussex

Pomegranate Press, 2001, ISBN 0 9533493 3 0

A highly readable book providing much background information on orchids, the habitats found in Sussex and botanical characters of the area. The 33 species are all superbly illustrated, with distribution maps based on 2 km squares.


Lang, David : Orchids of Britain: a Field Guide

OUP, 1980, ISBN 0 217692 7

Detailed descriptions of every native species of the British Isles, with distribution maps and much information on habitats and status.


Lock, Mick and Wills, Martin : Wild Orchids in the South of England

MLP Publications, 1993

This private publication details the orchid species occurring in the south, with site records from four locations over recent years.


Sanford, Martin : The Orchids of Suffolk : an Atlas and History

Suffolk Naturalists Society, 1991, ISBN 0 9508154 3 8

As well as detailed information and illustrations of the present-day orchids of Suffolk, the historical slant maps the decline in species and populations over the last century.


Sankey, Ann : The Box Hill Book of Orchids

The Friends of Box Hill, 2000

An attractive soft-back book providing a general introduction to orchids followed by descriptions, photographs and line drawings of all the species associated with Box Hill.


Turner Ettlinger, D. M. : British and Irish Orchids, a Field Guide

Macmillan Press Ltd., 1976, ISBN 0 333 18262 6

This authoritative guide has now been superseded by the following two publications by the same author.


Turner Ettlinger, D. M. : Notes on British and Irish Orchids

Author's publication, 1998, ISBN 0 9530380 0 9

 Turner Ettlinger, D. M. : Illustrations of British and Irish Orchids

Author's publication, 1998, ISBN 0 9530380 1 7

These two books in A5 format together tell the whole story of wild orchids in Britain and Ireland. The first provides 150 pages of text including every British species, with descriptions, distribution, habitat, flowering period and variations encountered. The second is devoted to no less than 519 excellent photographs - the end product of the author's lifetime hobby. Impressively comprehensive, it should be a valuable guide to field identification since the range of variation of each species is so well illustrated.


  Woods, Patrick and Bates, Mary : Field Key to Wild Orchids of Scotland

HMSO, 1993, ISBN 0 11 495105 5

Field key to accompany 'Wild Orchids of Scotland'

Top of this page


The Rest of Europe


Alibertis, Antonis : The Orchids of Crete and Karpathos

A new and expanded edition of the book that has delighted many visitors to Crete


Christofides, Yiannis : The Orchids of Cyprus

Published by the Author, 2001, ISBN 9963 8542 0 6

Written and photographed by a native of the island. Full descriptions of all species found in Southern (Greek) Cyprus, with flowering times and general descriptions of orchid locations. Excellent photography throughout.


Demares, Michel : Atlas des Orchidees Sauvages de Haute-Normadie

SFO, 1997, ISBN 2 905734 08 6

Lavishly presented descriptions of the orchids of the Seine-Maritime and Eure departments. (In French).


Guerin, Jean-Claude, and others : Orchidees de Poitou-Charenteset Vendee

Meloe, 1995, ISBN 2 911146 00 X

Pocket guide to orchids in that region. (In French).


Hubbard, Joan and Scraton, Pamela : The orchids of Cyprus and where to find them

Published by the Authors, 2001, ISBN 9963 8615 0 4

This wire-bound pocket book, which come complete with a two hour video tape, is aimed more at "flower hunters" than botanists. Useful features include calendars of flower times plus descriptions of a few good locations - all in the Southern (Greek) part of Cyprus. the main weakness of this book is the colour pictures which are mere "thumbnails", but the video more than compensates for this.


Kretschmar, Horst & Gisela, and Eccarius, Wolfgang :Orchideen auf Rhodos

Published by the Authors, 2001

Excellent colour photography, with several pictures of each species, makes this an excellent volume. (In German).


Kreutz, C. A. J. :Feldfuhrer Deutsche Orchideen

Published by the Author, 2002, ISBN 90 806626 2 3 

A comprehensive field guide to the orchids of Germany and their habitats. Each species has a two-page spread with two excellent photographs - whole plant and close-up. Excellent indexes. (In German).


Kreutz, C. A. J. : Die Orchideen der Turkei

Published by the Author, 1998, ISBN 90 9011 307 X

At 4 kg this magnificent tome is not a field guide, but provides a most authoritative and comprehensive review of the orchids of Turkey. Over 1300 colour prints are used to illustrate the 148 species, their variations and their habitats. Excellent distribution maps, based on 10 km squares, summarise the status of each species. (In German).


Kreutz, C. A. J. :The Orchids of Rhodes and Karpathos

Published by the Author, 2002, ISBN 90 805149 2 6

A large and sumptuous book, with several photographs of each of the 73 species described, which includes many "new" ones. Distribution maps based on a 1 km UTM grid are also included. An excellently produced volume, but definitely not for the pocket! (Text in English & German).


Kreutz, C. A. J. :The Orchids of Cyprus

Kreutz Publications, 2004 ISBN 90 806626 3 1

Reviewed in Journal of Hardy Orchid Soc Vol 2 No 4


Lepper, J. D. : Orchids of Greece

Stockwell, 1981, ISBN 0 7223 1450 7

Lepper, J. D. : Mediterranean Orchids

Stockwell, 1990, ISBN 0 7223 2450 2

Two volumes with brief descriptions and photographs by the author.


Morschek, Gisela and Karlheinz : Orchids of Cyprus

Published by the Authors, 1996, ISBN 3 00 000956 6

Contains a useful introduction to orchids as well as detailed descriptions and full page photographs of all the species and sub-species found on Cyprus. (In English & German)


Perazza, Georgio : Orchidee Spontanee in Trentino - Alte Adige

Manfrini, 1992, ISBN 88 7024 476 8

Details with amps and photographs of orchids in the Dolomite region. (In Italian).


Reinhard, Hans and others : Die Orchideen der Schweiz und angrenzender Gebiete

Fotoratar, 1991, ISBN 3 905647 01 0

Details of the orchids of Switzerland and its neighbourhood, beautifully illustrated. (In German).


SFO : LesOrchidees de France, Belgique et Luxembourg

Parthenope, 1998, ISBN 2 9510379 1 0

A meticulously descriptive work, covering some 148 species and sub-species. (In French).

Top of this page


North America


Brown, Paul Martin : Wild Orchids of North America, North of Mexico

Univ. Press of Florida, 2003, ISBN 0 8130 2572 9

Essentially a check list of some 247 species and sub-species plus 24 hybrids found in North America. Each taxon is illustrated with a small photograph and a short paragraph which includes its distribution and status. Although botanical information is minimal, the extensive keys make it a useful field guide.


Brown, Paul Martin : Wild Orchids of the North-eastern United States - a Field Guide

Cornell Univ. Press, 1997, ISBN 0 8014 8341 7

230 pages packed with information, photos, drawings and distribution maps for all the orchids that have been found in the seven states in the north-eastern corner of the USA. The chapter entitled "When and where do we find orchids", plus the addresses of conservation organisations, should be particularly helpful to visitors.


Burian, Rick, Bluhm, Wilbur : Native Orchids of Oregon

Oregon Orchid Soc., 2000

A 40 page field guide with colour photographs and brief descriptions.


Chapman, William K. : Orchids of the Northeast : a Field Guide

Syracuse UP, 1997, ISBN 0 8156 0342 8

Guide to the orchids of the north-eastern United States.


Correll, D. S. : Native Orchids of North America

Stanford Uni. Press, 1978, ISBN 0 8047 0999 8

They don't make books like they used to - but this "golden oldie" is still available from and well worth having. A stylish and elegant work of scholarship, with 147 whole page line drawings. It also gives details of early attempts at cultivation.


Keenan, Philip E. : Wild Orchids across North America

Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1998, ISBN 0 88192 452 0

A magnificently illustrated "botanical travelogue" in a very original style. Orchidomaniacs in Europe will identify with Philip's trials and tribulations, even if we can't get our heads around the distances travelled in his searches!


Luer, C. A. : The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada, excluding Florida

W. S. Cowell, Ipswich, England 1975

A classic book for North America, with every then known orchid illustrated by colour photographs.


Petrie, William : Guide to Orchids of North America

Hancock House, 1981, ISBN 0 88839 089 0

Identification and distribution guide to the temperate orchid species of North America.

Top of this page


The Rest of the World


Jones, D. L. : Native Orchids of Australia

Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW, 1998, ISBN 0 7301 0189 4

A one man tour de force with stunning colour photographs and line drawings, and plenty of cultural information.


Linder, H. P. and Kurzweil, Hubert : Orchids of Southern Africa

Balkema, 1999, ISBN 90 5410 445 7

An authoritative work in the fullest sense of the words. At A4 size and almost 500 pages long, it is definitely not a pocket guide. The impressive coverage and the excellent quality of the photographs put this book in the top class. It contains distribution maps for each species and a huge amount of background information as well as descriptions. It includes some DNA study results too. This exceptional quality comes at a cost.


St George, Ian and McCrae, Doug  et al. : The New Zealand Orchids : natural history and cultivation

New Zealand Native Orchid Group, 1990, ISBN 0 9597931 0 0

A book packed with drawings showing various features of the different species, information on growth habits and photography. As the title suggests, this publication deals extensively with cultivation and propagation. Some colour photographs, of a standard typical of that date.


St George, Ian : The Nature Guide to New Zealand Orchids

Godwit, 1999, ISBN 1 86962040 2

This book, which has an interesting, chatty style, is full of information and easy to read. It includes a generous quantity of excellent photographs, descriptions, a bit of history and a small distribution map for each species. Well worth the money at about 17.


Willaimson, G. : The Orchids of South Central Africa

J. M. Dent, London, 1977, ISBN 0 460 04295 5

This definitive work for Zambia and Malawi is another tour de force for one man, one wife and four young daughters. It describes 200 species in 50 genera, nearly all terrestrial, and many new to science. The superb line drawings and colour photographs were all made in the field, under arduous and sometimes dangerous conditions.


Wodrich, Karsten H. K. : Growing South African Indigenous Orchids

Balkema, 1997, ISBN 90 5410 6506

In-depth information on the cultivation of terrestrial and epiphytic species (including Disa and Stenoglottis), orchid breeding, propagation from seed and by tissue culture, and media formulations. A very remarkable and practical source of information, including glove glove-box and laminar flow cabinet construction. Plenty of colour and B&W photographs. Downside is the cost - 66 at the current exchange rate!

Top of this page


Cultivation and Propagation


Cribb, P. and Bailes, C. : Hardy Orchids - Orchids for the Garden and Frost-free Greenhouse

Timber Press, 1989, ISBN 0 88192 147 5

162 pages providing a general introduction to most of the orchids that HOS deals with. Probably the most useful all round book on cultivation of hardy and near hardy terrestrial orchids. Written in plain English (not too much jargon) with good drawings and photos. A definite must if you can get hold of it.


Rasmussen, Hanne N. : Terrestrial Orchids - From Seed to Mycotrophic Plant

Cambridge Uni. Press, ISBN 0 521 45165 5

444 pages of detailed scientific knowledge of the biology of terrestrial orchids. An extremely useful reference for anyone wanting to grow from seed in vitro. Pricey - so borrow it from a library if you can!


Seaton, Phillip & Ramsey, Margaret : Growing Orchids From Seed

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2005 ISBN 1 84246 091 9

Reviewed in Journal of Hardy Orchid Soc Vol 2 No 4


Thompson, P. A. : Orchids from seed

HMSO, 1977 (reprinted 1996), ISBN 0 947643 96 6

Only 30 pages long, but contains a great deal of detailed instruction for propagating hardy orchid seed in sterile conditions - but symbiotic fungi get little more than a mention on page one!

Top of this page


General Topics

Darwin, Charles : The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects

Uni. Chicago Press, 1984, ISBN 0 226 13662 0

This modern reprint of Charles Darwin's 1877 publication details the unique and fascinating pollination mechanisms of many orchid species. Not only is this a fascinating read for anyone interested in orchids, but clearly illustrates Darwin's acute observational skill, attention to detail and powers of scientific deduction. Internet link http://

Top of this page

Back to Welcome page