I would be remiss if I did not say this about you. I have a lot of respect for the mission you have chosen, and that is the work on your Web site. While I have disagreements with some of your content, I have a lot of admiration for the scope of your project and I encourage you to continue.
I also admire your energy and your drive to locate and to reference a very impressive amount of data for people to find in one, easily accessible site….(just like my book!). I also have confidence that at some point, you will become well educated about orchids. I hope your interest and enthusiasm continues beyond that point, before you probably get interested in something like frogs, fish, parrots, or something with similar intrigue.
Which brings the point:
There are two issues here. First off, my book is a cultural book. You have focused on taxonomical issues. The entire cultural aspect is mine and mine alone. There is nothing to cite, anywhere. And, as I said before, I put photos in my book to allow readers to identify their plants. The identities I placed on some species, which someone might find controversial, are my own interpretation. Of course, I studied hard the existing data, and in some I reached a different conclusion than Cribb or Koopowitz. I just happen to think mine are more correct. (It’s a matter of opinion, remember?).
I sat down with Jack Fowlie on many occasions. We went through his files of books, maps, hand-written letters, photographs, line drawings, photos of herbarium sheets, and all sorts of stuff, some of which dated back to earlier centuries. We compared notes and discussed personal anecdotal episodes, and those of acquaintances, and we compared descriptions, oftentimes of the same subject, identified differently by different, or even the same, ‘authority.’ We discussed the intent of descriptive Latin words, which vary all over the place. Even the word “Brachypetalum” is illegally comprised of both Greek and Latin. Botany is really a mess. Cribb, and the current Royal Horticulture Society are screwing it up in such a way, I don’t see how it will ever get sorted out.
I could spend hours going through Cribb’s paph book, listing errors he has made, both in judgment and in interpretation of his published work. Still, I think his 2nd edition is a superb reference book, and an art book, I just have a different opinion of how he interprets his raw data.
I have to tell you how little faith I have in our education system. I am familiar with the Ph.D program at the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara. I have read countless books, textbooks and articles, some written by professors themselves, who have published NUMEROUS errors, and in some cases, completely false results and bogus data in their works. I know this because, in many cases I repeated those same experiments and found different results, and I found where and why they made their mistakes. Mistakes are not just limited to botany, as I have found them in texts of other sciences as well.
A good amount of my “Range” data came from national library books which describe climate and weather information. Compared to maps and personal knowledge, or from persons familiar with local geography, etc., it doesn’t always jibe. In many cases I had to make an educated “guess” (Oboy, there goes my credibility), to arrive at suitable data to include in my book. And, some of my data came from my past experiences of habitat types, etc., by deduction from certain clues derived from plant growth characteristics and a whole range of separate sources.
So how do you prepare a bibliography of this sometimes conflicting or unbelievable data? More importantly, why bother when my data is good and the results are proven?
You asked a question about range, and whether I knew the complete range of a species. Answer: No one does. Not even Cribb, yet he drew his maps based on his guess, as well as from some hard data. The truth is, no one will ever know for sure, but both Cribb and I have stated our best guesses… and it works as far as any reader is concerned.
Neither Norito nor Harold had suitable photos of P. viniferum so Harold said to use the Digest plates. Steve Golis sent them to me as I flew to China…..my credit to the Orchid Digest was proper and correct. You may have noticed that I published photos of illegal species, but I purposefully did not credit them to individuals in particular, instead I credited my sources in one group. You should know this is proper and smart. By the way, No one could tell me exactly where this species originates, opinions abound but none have been found in the wild, so I took my best guess after consulting with persons who live there or are familiar with orchids from those areas. I did not take the Digest at the time, but Harold and Norito both told me their best guesses, so I do not owe the Digest a loc. cit.
At some point Silence, you need to be able to find trust in information you find. To me, it took a lot of years of investigation; maybe you will take the same path. I have already told you the truth about what I know, some day you will understand.
Good luck in your journey.