Phaius are spectacular terrestrial orchids, widespread from tropical and subtropical Asia, Australasia, Madagascar and Africa. The genus comprises just over 40 species and used to include the endemic Madagascan genus Gastrorchis which has nine known species. For historical reasons and because they have frequently been artificially hybridized, both genera are covered in this monograph. They have a fascinating history: Phaius tankervilleae was the first tropical orchid to be grown and flowered in England some 250 years ago. It certainly stimulated interest in the growing of exotic orchids that took off spectacularly in the following century as tropical plants flowed into Europe and once growers had established the appropriate cultural conditions for them. This book introduces many showy and little known species and will stimulate interest in them and their attractive and easy-to-grow hybrids.
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