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History of Orchids (continued)

Under such extreme conditions, orchids quickly succumbed by the thousands. One nobleman remarked that England had become the "grave of tropical orchids". In spite of the speed with which orchids died, they were imported in ever larger quantities. The startling beauty of the flowers on the few plants that survived stimulated the desire to continue to cultivate them.

Competition was keen among aristocratic 19th century orchid culturists. The more successful growers carefully guarded their secrets. One of the first to successfully build up a large collection of exotic orchids was William Cattley of Barnet, England. The popular Cattleya orchid genus was named for and dedicated to him.

European scientists, too, were interested in orchids. Charles Darwin was fascinated by them. His studies into fertilization mechanisms in this family led to a 2-volume classic in 1862, The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects

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