Here’s a find for orchid fanatics everywhere: Highlights of Orchid History
Here are some of my favourites from the anals of orchid history:
1725: a book was commissioned by Japanese Emperor Chang-te. Some of its gems include recommendations that Jung-Luan – (Angraecum falcata – now Neofineta falcata) – grew best in human hair cut from a woman.
1765: Orchids stated to be “Epiphytic parasites long considered to be uncultivable” in Millers “Dictionary of Gardening”.
1794: Kew Royal Botanical Garden recorded fifteen orchid species under cultivation – most of these had been brought to the U.K. by Admiral W. Bligh (of the “Bounty” – 1789) from the West Indies.
1800/25: The City of Liverpool was described as the country’s leading centre for botany.
1809: Darwin, Charles. (1809/1892): During voyages (l831/1836) he gathered information for his subsequent writings on evolution and “On the Various Contrivancies by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects” in which he predicted that an insect with a twelve inch long probosis would be necessary to effect the fertilisation of Angraecum sesquipedale. Some forty years later it was established that the Hawk Moth Xanthopan morganii praedicta did in fact fertilise this genus.