At first glance, this book appears to be yet another lavish coffee-table work showcasing this extravagant group of plants. However, it is actually a substantial volume, featuring paintings and drawings of orchids from the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), London the institution that has played a significant role in promoting and fostering the development of orchid horticulture in the West. The first part features illustrations from a variety of sources, with accompanying text about the cultivation and natural history of orchids by Griffiths, editorial consultant of the authoritative RHS periodical, Orchid Review, and editor of The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. The RHS has been awarding orchids and commissioning paintings of the winners since 1896, and the second half of the book is devoted to reproducing these watercolors for the first time. There are a few flaws a couple of the watercolors are miscaptioned, and the text font is small and somewhat difficult to read but these are minor detractions from what is otherwise a fabulous work. Highly recommended for horticultural collections and larger public libraries. Brian Lym, City Coll. of San Francisco Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.