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New orchid flora documents dramatic variety of orchids in a biodiversity hotspot
Date:2/27/2014

Covering the oldest, largest and most complex islands of the West Indies, Orchid Flora of the Greater Antilles, newly published by The New York Botanical Garden Press, provides clear, detailed accounts of all currently known orchid species found in the Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola, the island that comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Written by world-renowned orchidologist James D. Ackerman, Ph.D., and a team of nine collaborators, Orchid Flora of the Greater Antilles gives full scientific treatments of 594 orchid species, including botanical descriptions, vernacular names, and notes on distribution, ecology and conservation status. The book is profusely illustrated with high-quality scientific drawings of these dramatically varied and, in many cases, narrowly distributed flowering plants. The principal illustrator is Bobbi Angell.

The 640-page flora incorporates many of the recent findings that have resulted from the growth of molecular systematics, in which analysis of plant DNA is used to resolve long-standing questions about such fundamental matters as what constitutes a distinct species or group of related species. In addition, English and Spanish versions are given for the keys used to identify orchid species and for a glossary of orchid-related technical terms.

Orchids rank among the most species-rich family of flowering plants in the Greater Antilles, which extend from Cuba in the west to Anegada, an island of the British Virgin Islands, in the east. This group of large Caribbean islands is considered a Biodiversity Hotspot because of the high numbers of its plant species; the high percentage of those species that are found nowhere else, known as endemic species; and the degree of deforestation in the region. Of 594 orchid species, 70 percent are endemic to the archipelago. The most species-rich genus (a group of related species) is
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Contact: Stevenson Swanson
sswanson@nybg.org
917-859-0551
The New York Botanical Garden
Source:Eurekalert  

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New orchid flora documents dramatic variety of orchids in a biodiversity hotspot
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