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[aroid-l] Orchid Hunter

  • Subject: [aroid-l] Orchid Hunter
  • From: Piabinha@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 21:39:17 EST

just finished watching the NOVA show on "orchid hunter."  somewhat 
disappointing, what did you all think?  i thought mr. hart-dyke came across 
as a bit of a jerk.  now what's so disappointing is how shoddy the science 
knowledge of the producers came across.  for example, they seemed not to know 
the distinction between hybrids and species, as when they talked about naming 
orchids after mr. hart-dyke's grandmother (which would be a new species that 
he so desperately wanted to find) and orchids named after elizabeth taylor or 
barbara bush (hybrids, of course).  another one, the story about the orchid 
explorers going to the philippines and one getting eaten by a tiger.  as far 
as i can find out, tigers never existed in the philippines.  i also felt that 
they kept throwing lots of generalities about orchids as if whatever they 
were saying applied to all orchids.  and when they were talking about the 
"sexiness" of orchids, they said that the word orchid comes from the greek 
word for testicle, but didn't explain why (the round bulbs of some european 
terrestrial orchids - the genus Orchis - that resemble testicles).  and they 
totally glossed over the controversy over the naming of Phragmipedium 

although the author susan orlean makes some interesting points, as her book 
"orchid thief" shows, her science is quite weak.  even better would have been 
using eric hansen, whose "orchid fever" is a far superior book (although the 
two books are quite different in focus).  hansen is a much better journalist 
in my opinion.  maybe he wasn't available...

i think that if i had the chance to go to some unexplored or little explored 
place, i'd love to do a survey of all plants, not just orchids.  even better, 
to be able to work to preserve such a place.  

tsuh yang CHEN in NY

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