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 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
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.
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'
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).
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 Amazon.co.uk 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.
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!
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!
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:// pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin3/orchids/orchids_fm.htm
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