The Box Hill Book of Orchids by Ann Sankey
Ann Sankey is renowned locally as a botanist and teacher. The book presents a fund of information about the natural history of the plants and their presence on the Hill in a most accessible way. She describes the aim of the book as ‘to describe some of the unusual characteristics of orchids and to show how other factors can influence their prosperity’.
Of some 50 species of orchid found in the British Isles almost half have, at one time or another, been found on Box Hill. The varied range of habitat provides suitable homes for species which require open grassy areas, scrub or woodlands. Nine species of orchids have been found on the Hill in reasonable numbers while a further eight, nationally scarce, occur in low numbers. Six more have been recorded in the past but no longer appear to be present.
The book is not intended as a guide to the identification of orchids, but it is set out in such a way that it gives a careful description and particular characteristics of each of the species which is, or has been, found on the Hill. The book records the private life of orchids including their varying approaches to pollination; chapter headings include: Rewarders, deceivers and the self-sufficient, which may arouse your curiosity, and A year in the life of a Pyramidal orchid. The complexities of the close association between some varieties of orchids and fungi, and in some cases with tree roots are explained. There are excellent colour pictures, some taken by Ann, some by John Bebbington and other photographers, as well as delightful drawings by local artist Elizabeth Worsley.