Several years ago, the author and traveler Susan Orlean brought the world of those obsessed with orchids to the general book-reading public. These rather entrancing flowers had a substantial following before her work, and they remain a passion for many. Working in collaboration, Michigan State University, the American Orchid Society, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the National Agricultural Library have assisted in the creation of this lovely online digitized collection. Here, visitors can electronically traipse through such gems as the periodical “The Orchid World” from 1911 and 1912, then move on to more demanding texts such as “Die Orchideen von Java”, compiled by one Johannes Jacobus Smith. Accompanied by detailed illustrations of orchids, visitors will find much to delight in throughout these various taxonomical works. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to visit the narrative accounts of orchid-collecting presented here, particularly “About Orchids: A Chat” by Frederick Boyle. In it, they will find such passionate panegyrics as those expressed in this sentence: “I take it that orchids meet a craving of the cultured soul which began to be felt at the moment when kindly powers provided means to satisfy it”.
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