Journals Higher Education



Published: 24 November 2005

320 Pages | 56 color illus., 2 line illus.

6 x 8-1/2 inches

ISBN: 9780195182743

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Bookseller Code (06)

An Enthusiasm for Orchids

Sex and Deception in Plant Evolution

John Alcock

What constitutes an adaptation, how do complex adaptations come into being, and where do species with their special attributes come from? Alcock explores these questions, explaining why some biologists think they know what adaptations are and how they arise and what species are. Orchids have especially intricate relationships with their pollinators, which raises questions about the nature of adaptations of this sort. Orchids also comprise the largest plant family of them all, perhaps as many as 30,000 species, which naturally provokes curiosity about the processes responsible for this exuberant proliferation of species. Orchids provide a rich source of material for an analysis of both adaptation and speciation. Many have the advantage of being clearly spectacular plants, inspiring enthusiasm, even passion, making them an especially appealing object of scrutiny.


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