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Actual size 10 x 13  ½

Fabio Petroni Anna Maria Botticelli

PHOTOGRAPHS TEXT

ORCHIDS


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Mirror, mirror on the wall Growing a Phalaenopsis orchid at home is a joy for the eyes. Then, if it has the colors of Shih Hua Smile, joy easily turns into contemplation, because a sort of oblivion enraptures the soul. How could we not linger in the desire to perceive the perfection of each individual flower, the roundness of the corolla with its large white petals, edges just barely tinged with highly diluted magenta pink brushstrokes? Turn your gaze, and behold, right next to the one, a sort of twin sister with the same features and proportions, but different, because the colors appear to be reversed, as though enjoying a strange play of mirror reflections. This time, the fabric is dominated by the magenta pink brilliance, which gradually fades away toward the edges of the petals until becoming white. Magic? No, simply the demonstration of how powerful, and how begrudgingly submissive to human orders, the genes are that were crossed to obtain this hybrid; it is they who decide which “garment” to show off, depending on the occasion. Phalaenopsis Shih Hua Smile, also known by the pseudonym Doritaenopsis Shih Hua Smile, was created by Fuller’s Orchard Nursery, in Taiwan, and registered in 2007.

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PhalaenoPsis shih hua smile

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PhalaenoPsis timothy Christopher

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Seafoam A white Phalaenopsis is the highly beloved and popular, the protagonist of bouquets, and a symbol of purity and faithfulness of the bride. Appreciated by designers and florists, it is used for making refined interior decorations. It is among the first orchids one buys to make a gift to a loved one or to keep beside oneself, fascinating with the whiteness of its corollas and giving one the sensation of being surrounded by graceful flowers as light as butterflies. Not surprisingly, it was butterflies, or rather nocturnal moths, with white wings, that gave rise to the etymology of the name of the genus, Phalaenopsis, which derives from the Greek words phalaen (butterfly) and opsis (similar). Timothy Christopher, an old hybrid created in 1982 and still in vogue, has a little something more: the softness of its flower stalks and the lightness of its corollas, not large but perfect in every detail, and as they move, they recall the foam of the wave as it breaks on the beach. This occurs because Phalaenopsis aphrodite is among its progenitors, a native to the subtropical forests of Taiwan and the Philippine Islands, with the species epithet dedicated to the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, born from the sea.

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Vibrating voltage

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If you look at them in profile, the tapering corollas of the Masdevallia constricta seem to hover in the air, ready to jump into the void, to fly far away from the small plant that generated them. But they are linked to it by a thin, string-like stalk that continues to support them, even while leaving them free to move about in the air. In its grace, this jewel of nature, a miniature orchid that can fit into the palm of your hand, conceals a rare strength, a strong character of a mountain orchid, inured to living on the damp mosses covering the bark of old trees growing on the Peruvian and Colombian Andes, at altitudes between approximately 3900 ft (1200 m) and 5900 ft (1800 m). For collectors, Masdevallia constricta is both a torment and a delight, preferring the purity of rainwater and caution because it risks burning if exposed to the sun. It belongs to the genus Masdevallia, discovered in the New World by the Spanish, and dedicated in 1794, to JosĂŠ Masdeval, physician and botanist to the court of Charles III of Spain.

Masdevallia

constricta

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ON SALE NOVEMBER 2013 Orchids—with more than 25,000 species—spark passion as nothing else in nature. Personages as diverse as jeweler Henri Cartier, designer Vivienne Westwood, author Susan Orlean, and thousands upon thousands of plant hunters have been seduced by their bewitching beauty, aroma, and rarity. Now master photographer Fabio Petroni has created a stunning tribute to this flower, capturing the various varieties in close-up and detailed still lifes, with irresistible charm and appeal.

• Review copy mailing to design, lifestyle, photography, gardening, and women’s publications • Pitch for holiday/gift guide roundups • Outreach to botanical gardens—offering promotional handout for gift shops • Advance copies to trade publications • Digital outreach to photography, gardening, and women’s interest blogs Photographer Fabio Petroni specializes in portraits and still lifes. Over the years he has photographed leading Italian celebrities, and he now works with top advertising agencies where he handles the publications of some important Italian brands. His books with White Star include Horses: Master Portraits, Mutt’s Life!, Cocktails, and Supercats! He lives and works in Milan. Anna Maria Botticelli is a biologist and microbiologist with a passion for plants. For more than 20 years, she has worked with various Italian publishers, including Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Cairo Editore, Periodici San Paolo, and Pentagono Editrice. For Gardenia, Italy’s most important monthly magazine for flowers, plants, and gardens, she oversaw the production of several monographs, including one dedicated to orchids, and also published Ritratti di Orchidee (Idealibri). Together with herbalist and pharmacist Clementina Cagnola, she wrote La salute foglia per foglia (A. Mondadori) and in collaboration with the IBC (International Flower Bulb Centre), she edited the technical introduction to the book Giardini in vaso (A. Mondadori). Anna Maria lives in Milan.

DISCLAIMER Reviewers are reminded that changes may be made in this uncorrected proof before books are printed. If any material from the book is to be quoted in a review, the quotation should be checked against the final bound book. Dates, prices, and manufacturing details are subject to change or cancellation without notice. For more information, contact Joshua Glickman at 646-688-2424 or jglickman@sterlingpublishing.com

November 2013 Gift Books $45.00 ($49.50 Can) Hardcover 10 x 13 ½ • 208 pages (135 color photos) 978-88-544-0765-7 To order book, scan here


Orchids