The column or gynostemium morphology is an important feature of the orchid flower because it is one of the key elements for determining to which genus the orchid belongs. The position of anther containing the pollinia or pollinaria, the viscidium and the stigma are important because they can preprogram the position where the viscidium is attached to the visiting insect. This has to be such a position that the insect cannot remove the pollinaria. At the same time the position should be such, that the pollinia are pushed against the stigma when the insect searches for nectar. Our book “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” has images of the columns of all orchid genera as well as microscopic sections.
The microscopic sections generally show a lateral view of the orchid flower in bud. They are very useful in showing the complete flower structure and the adaptations for augmenting the contact between viscidium and visiting insect, the potential pollinator. Our book “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” has images of microscopic sections of all European orchid genera as well as images of the columns.
Fruit set: after pollination the capsules start ripening. You can easily tell which flowers were pollinated because the capsules are bigger and generally stand more upright. They open at three slits in the capsule. Aided by the wind the dustlike seeds can spread.
Appendix 2 of our book “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” lists the percentage of fruit set of many European orchids. This gives an exhaustive overview on 10 pages. The images help identify the orchid species when they are fainted. Our book presents images of fruit set of all European orchid genera.
In Appendix 4 all known numbers of seeds per capsule are listed.
There is often a distinct difference between orchids that rely on insect pollination and orchids that self-fertilise (the process is called autogamy). Appendix 3 lists all European orchid species that are reported to be (partly or totally) autogamous.
In this gallery you can find a number of rosettes of different genera. It is quite useful to be able to recognise orchids when they are not yet flowering. The images in this gallery may help you in identifying the orchids you encounter in the field. Our book “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” has images of the rosettes of all European orchid genera.
Some examples of European orchids of different genera, showing the habitus of the species. European orchids generally are no large plants, but their flower morphology is quite interesting. Many orchids are restricted to the calcarous regions. Our book “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” shows the whole plants as well as the flowers and detailed images of the flower structure (column, pollinaria etc.) of all European orchid genera.
Orchids are highly dependent on the insects for pollination. There are some autogamous orchids, but most species need insects to transport the heavy pollinia or pollinaria to another plant. That is why several orchids adapted to a special class of pollinators, whereas others attract a broad spectrum of insects in order to elevate the pollination success.
In Appendix 1 all published pollinators are listed. There is also an update of Appendix 1 which can be downloaded for free. In “The flower of the European orchid – Form and function” a large quantity of pollinators is depicted, including various first findings of pollinators for a certain genus or species.
Henrik Æ. Pedersen in Orchid Research Newsletter (Kew Gardens)
“This is a cleverly thought-out book that provides an unprecedented overview of the floral biology and pollination adaptations of the orchids of Europe, based not only on information from the literature but also on original observations that are in some cases quite remarkable. A high degree of stylistic consistency across the generic accounts, both with regard to text and illustrations, adds to the overall impression of an unusually well-edited volume. Last, but not least, the comprehensive selection of macrophotos that are both of impressive technical and aesthetic quality elevates this book to the level of excellence.”” The Flower of the European Orchid simply sets a new standard for photographic illustration of orchid books.”“…I wholeheartedly recommend this magnificent book to anyone who has just the slightest interest in the orchids of Europe, or in the pollination biology of orchids in general.” PDF
Simon Tarrant in Journal of the Hardy Orchid Society (Great Britain)
“Arguably, this book provides the most comprehensive account since Charles Darwin’s ground-breaking “Onthe Various Contrivances by Which Orchids are Pollinated by Insects” and in the preface Richard Bateman describes it as“an unparalleled account of the floral structure and reproductive biology of the orchids of Europe and Asia Minor”.”What sets this book apart, indeed its crowning glory, is the outstandingly superb photography, ranging from habitat shots to the use of microscopy to show incredible levels of detail”.”I am particularly impressed by the stunning pictures of pollinating insects with pollinia attached to their bodies as they move from flower to flower”. PDF
Matthias Svojtka in Orchideenkurierder Österreichischen Orchideengesellschaft
“Jean Claessens und Jacques Kleynen, two Dutch nature photographers and orchidologists submit with their new book, a milestone for the knowledge of floral biology and pollination of European orchids.With over 800 color photos, including full-page images plants, flower studies, macro images of the column and the flower-visiting insects, the book presents a never before shown completeness of floral biology of the European orchid species. Taking “The Flower of the European orchid. Form and function” in the hand, whether for scientific reading or admiring the wonderful pictures, one is reminded of the idealized image of science and knowledge of Alexander von Humboldt, who said that in addition to technical precision always the aesthetics of representation should be sought. Scientific data can sometimes be, and this is then a stroke of luck, not only right, but also beautiful, as the current volume of Jean Claessens and Jacques Kleynen impressively proves”. PDF
H. Kretzschmar in Berichte Heimische Orchideen
“The specific nature of the interaction between pollinators and plants is explained in detail. This interaction is captured in many detailed photos which reach a stunning super-macro range; even light-and electron micrographs are included. This is where the authors show an otherwise unseen mastery.””It is difficult to single out particularly striking examples, simply because this book shows a perfect, continuous extremely high quality.”“In sum, this is an immensely readable book with a wealth of valuable information, wonderfully illustrated, a delight for every orchid enthusiast.” PDF
Guus Urlings in De Limburger
“Professor Richard Bateman, internationally renowned authority on orchids cites the book in his preface as a landmark, a standard work for anyone seriously interested in studying orchids.” PDF
Martine Lejeune in Natuurhistorisch Maandblad
“Should one buy this book? Yes, of course! Anyone with even the slightest interest in orchids should have this book, no doubt. Can a book be a jewel? Sure, this is one of pure gold. In English? Again, yes, of course! A book of this size (and I mean not A4), filled with such unimaginable amount of energy and enthusiasm is not written for a small language (like Dutch). That should be accessible to everyone, for centuries.” PDF
Bertrand Schatz in l’Orchidophile
“This is first and foremost a very attractive book, where each theme is richly illustrated with didactical images.””Each genus is beautifully illustrated with microscopic images of a whole flower and of important details as well as electronic microscopic images of pollinia and pollen grains. It also contains magnificent photos of pollinators but also of the whole plant, flowers, fruit and various details of the different floral parts.””It is therefore a richly documented work and a must for any orchid lover interested in floral diversity. ” PDF
Gab van Winkel in Orchideeën
“What makes this book so special are the incredibly beautiful pictures of habitat and the whole plant as well as macro photographs of the flower and the pollinator.””But the book is more than just a lot of beautiful pictures. It summarizes almost all literature on the topic and describes minutely the construction and pollination of every European orchid genus, with various appendixes, such as a list of all insects per orchid species recorded as a pollinator since 1860. ““A standard work, a monument!” PDF
Form and function of the flower organs are the main focus of the new fascinating book “The Flower of the European Orchid – Form and function” by Jean Claessens and Jacques Kleynen. Illustrated by great macro as well as microscopic photos this important opus presents a comprehensive description of the structure of orchid flowers of all European orchid genera.