Calanthe is a widespread but predominantly tropical orchid genus, distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia from India across to Japan, north-eastern Australia and the Pacific Islands, Tahiti, tropical and South Africa, Madagascar, the islands of the Indian Ocean and in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The centre of diversity lies in Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago, while secondary centres of diversity can be found in the China and New Guinea.
Rumphius, was the first to describe and illustrate a Calanthe from Ambon, giving it the name “Flos triplicatus seu Helleborus Amboinicus”. In 1821 Robert Brown established the genus Calanthe; since then hundreds of new species have been described.
Bearing in mind the popularity of calanthes in horticulture, it is surprising that this is the first account in English of the genus to be published since 1833 when John Lindley catalogued the species.
Schlechter described many tropical species, mainly from New Guinea and the Malay Archipelago, and produced an improved classification of the genus.
In this work much of Schlechter’s classification has been maintained. It is hoped that this publication will provide a base-line of information for those making further studies of the genus. A must for those interested in this genus.
207 species are described in detail, 100 line diagrams, more than 250 colour photographs and numerous maps, charts and reproductions of original colour lithographs.