Kreutz C. A. J., Fateryga A. V. & Ivanov S. P., Orchids of the Crimea (description, pattern of life, distribution, threats, conservation, iconography). – Sint Geertruid, the Netherlands: Kreutz Publishers, 2018. – ISBN 978-90-806626-7-4, 17 × 25 cm, 576 pp., abundantly illustrated (colour photographs, colour distribution maps), hardback. – Price: c. EUR 40 or GBP 41.
Citation: Yena A. V. 2019: Book review: Kreutz C. A. J., Fateryga A. V. & Ivanov S. P., Orchids of the Crimea (description, pattern of life, distribution, threats, conservation, iconography). – Willdenowia 49: 281–282. doi: https://doi.org/10.3372/wi.49.49214
Version of record first published online on 29 August 2019 ahead of inclusion in August 2019 issue.
Situated between the Balkans and the Caucasus, the Russian Plain and Asia Minor, the Crimean Peninsula has drawn increased interest among botanists for centuries. Nevertheless, since the dawn of floristic recording in Crimea, dating back to 1800 and associated with Peter Pallas and Friedrich von Bieberstein, this is the first monograph on Crimean Orchidaceae.
The author team is composed of three experienced orchidologists: Karel (C. A. J.) Kreutz is affiliated with the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, the Netherlands; Alexander V. Fateryga works at the T. I. Vyasemsky Karadag Scientific Station – Nature Reserve of the RAS, Crimea; and Sergey P. Ivanov represents the V. I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, Simferopol, Crimea. These authors have long studied orchids in the field (2003–2017) and in herbaria (the six most important collections in Russia and Ukraine) from different perspectives, including morphology, taxonomy, chorology and ecology with emphasis on pollination and conservation.
The book consists of two sections. In the general section, basic data, all up-to-date, on the geography and history of Crimea and its plant cover are elucidated, as well as introductory information on Crimean orchids, their exploration and conservation. In the specific section, the authors first of all list 14 names of orchids that have been erroneously or doubtfully recorded from Crimea, providing convincing evidence of their status. Next, the newly compiled dichotomous key to genera, species, subspecies and varieties is given with properly selected and easily recognizable and mutually exclusive traits. The bulk of the work is devoted to descriptions of Crimean orchids covering all aspects. Each taxon is considered in the following format: accepted scientific name, type (holotype or lectotype), basionym and full list of synonyms (if any), morphological description, habitat, flowering time, elevational distribution, overall geographic distribution, distribution in Crimea, remarks, threats, pollinators and known hybrids. The hybrids are shown together in a 15-page appendix of illustrations.
High-quality photographs take up much more page area than text. Some may say that the book is overfilled with colour illustrations of each species. But it really is to the work's advantage that it shows important details of morphological variation thanks to illustrating plants from different habitats, which are shown as separate landscape photographs placed alongside whole-plant portraits and close-ups. Other authors could not let themselves be so liberal with illustrations.
Besides photographs, each taxon is provided with a 5 × 5 km grid map of its distribution in Crimea. References, acknowledgements and an index of scientific names complete the book. Finally, the authors provide a summary in Russian.
We now know that there are 45 species and five in-fraspecific taxa of orchids in the Crimean Peninsula, with ten of them described from Crimea. The first two authors have described orchid taxa from Crimea as new to science, such as Epipactis krym-montana Kreutz & al. (considered to be a Crimean endemic), E. persica subsp. taurica (Fateryga & Kreutz) Fateryga & Kreutz (≡ E. taurica Fateryga & Kreutz) and Limodorum abortivum var. viride Fateryga & Kreutz.
The work is thoroughly done, a nearly comprehensive and even picturesque monograph of the subject. No key data have been omitted (except maybe some human aspects such as ethnobotany). Orchids of the Crimea belongs to a type of fundamental scientific literature that is just as necessary and useful for experienced botanists as it is for amateurs.