W O R L D    P L A N T S

Illustrated World Compendium of Orchids

Michael Hassler & Joachim Rheinheimer



This database was conceived in the mid 1990s. It contains a worldwide checklist of Orchidaceae and about 8000 pictures of 5000 species, covering about one sixth of the total species in photographs.

The database originated from a cooperation of the authors with the Heidelberg University Botanical Garden, especially its Orchid curator, Karlheinz Senghas, who retired in the late 1990s and worked on the completion of the missing parts of Schlechter's Orchideen. Schlechter's Orchideen did never contain a checklist due to available space constraints.

Karlheinz Senghas then invited the authors to work on a joint project which was planned to result in a CD being published in the early 2000's as an appendix to Schlechters Orchideen, containing scans of the slide archive of the Heidelberg University Botanical Garden as well as digital photographs of living specimens in the Heidelberg collection.

The authors then started to photograph as many species as possible in various locations, especially the collections of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and at Andy's Orchids in Encinitas, California. A survey of genera and a worldwide statistics (without photographs) was published within Schlechters Orchideen as an appendix.

The publication of the project then was much delayed for several reasons. As it soon became apparent, Kew Gardens worked on a competing project which was published as a worldwide checklist during the early 2000's in the internet. Requests by the authors for cooperation were turned down by Kew. The deteriorating health of Karlheinz Senghas made further work almost impossible. Much more problematic was the fact that the originally conceived computer database did not work any more on most modern computer systems and would have to be completely reprogrammed. The first author was working for several years in the U.S. and could not dedicate any time to the project.

Therefore it was decided from 2005 onwards to drop the original project plan (publication of a CD) and change the publication form to an internet platform. The conception of the World Checklist of Ferns by Bernd Schmitt (see this website) finally provided the optimal form to include both database and illustration capabilities.

Additions of more pictures are planned, as they become available, and contributions by picture authors are greatly encouraged.


Heidelberg University Botanical Garden Picture Archive:

Karlheinz Senghas and his coworkers did over several decades assemble a lot of extremely valuable pictures, some of them of rare species usually not being seen in cultivation. It was therefore decided together with Senghas that they are worthy of documentation, even if the quality of the slide scans cannot compete with modern digital pictures.

Some of the pictures in the slide archive are taken by other authors than Senghas. The untimely death of Karlheinz Senghas made it impossible to attribute them to the correct authors as it was originally planned. If any viewers know the correct picture authors we would appreciate if the can tell us so we can give credits to the correct picture authors. If any picture author does not agree to the publication of the pictures on our website, we will of course remove the slides immediately if requested.