The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects/Preface to the Second Edition

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PREFACE

TO

THE SECOND EDITION.

The first edition of this work was published early in the year 1862, and has been for some time out of print. During the two or three years after its appearance I received, through the kindness of various correspondents in different parts of the world, a large number of letters, especially from Fritz Müller in South Brazil, communicating to me many new and curious facts, and calling my attention to some errors. Various memoirs on the fertilisation of orchids have also since been published, and I have myself examined several new and striking forms. A large amount of matter has thus been accumulated; but the present volume would be rendered much too long if the whole were introduced. I have, therefore, selected only the more interesting facts, and have given a brief abstract of the several published papers. The work has thus been remodelled; and the additions and corrections are so numerous that I have found it impossible to follow my usual plan of giving a list of them. I have, however, appended, in chronological order, the titles of all the papers and books on the fertilisation of the Orchideæ which have been published since the appearance of the first edition of the present book. Finally, I will remark that any reader who wishes merely to see how wonderfully complex and perfect are the adaptations for the fertilisation of these plants had better read Chapter VII. on the Catasetidæ. The account of their structure and of the action of the several parts will, I think, be intelligible, if he will first glance at the explanation of the terms given at the close of the Introduction.