The Orchid in Lore and Legend

By Luigi Berliocchi

The orchid is the most evocative of flowers, inspiring in some of its admirers a fanaticism akin to madness, as demonstrated in Susan Orlean's popular novel The Orchid Thief. This elegant survey of the orchid treats its place in legend and suggests the impact that these exotic plants had on the temperate European mind. Berliocchi chronicles the adventurers and scientists who introduced these marvels, discusses their place in the arts from literature and magic to cuisine, and concludes with accounts of the most important genera and their cultivation. Splendidly illustrated with period engravings and botanical paintings, it is literate and delightful.

This book is only available through print on demand. All interior art is black and white.

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Luigi Berliocchi

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Review quotes
“Period color plates, black-and-white illustrations, and woodcuts enhance this wonderfully entertaining book.” —Library Journal

“Berliocchi’s perceptive and richly descriptive narrative is certain to please orchid lovers, and will most likely spark the interest of those who have yet to discover these fascinating flowers.” —Booklist

“Berliocchi’s comprehensive handbook is both elegantly written and enriching.” —Publishers Weekly

“Exquisite botanical illustrations complement the definitive text.” —Country Living Gardener

“An authority on orchids. . . . provides nice thumbnail biographies of the major collectors and botanists who brought orchids from the tropics.” —Garden Gazette

“An utterly fascinating survey of orchids.” —Washington Daily News

“This is a very delightful, readable book.” —National Gardener

“This book, which spans every aspect of the plant from literary associations to care and cultivation, is a love letter to a genus from a man clearly passionately obsessed.” —Gardens Illustrated

“There has been no better book than this on the extraordinary story of the orchid.” —The Washington Post

“This is an amply researched and richly descriptive cornucopia of orchid lore.” —American Herb Association Quarterly Newsletter

“It is a quick, yet satisfying initiation, a brisk walk through a museum that leaves one acquainted, if a little breathless, with an amazing collection of lovely plants.” —Journal of the New England Garden History Society
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Number of pages
Publication date
March 01, 2010