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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The World of Wild Orchids by Christian Ziegler, January 19, 2012

Christian Ziegler:  The World of Wild OrchidsChristian Ziegler

Christian Ziegler: The World of Wild Orchids

Confucius called them the “king of fragrant plants,” and John Ruskin condemned them as “prurient apparitions.” Across the centuries, orchids have captivated us with their elaborate exoticism, powerful perfumes and sublime seductiveness. But the disquieting beauty of orchids is an unplanned marvel of evolution, and the story of orchids is as captivating as any novel. As acclaimed writers Michael Pollan and National Geographic photographer Christian Ziegler spin tales of orchid conquest in Deceptive Beauties: The World of Wild Orchids, we learn how these flowers can survive and thrive in the harshest of environments, from tropical cloud forests to the Arctic and from semi-deserts to rocky mountainsides, and how their shapes, colors and scents are, as Darwin put it, “beautiful contrivances” meant to dupe pollinating male insects in the strangest ways.