Back in the summer, Winnipeg's Native Orchid Conservation Inc. quietly published an excellent new guidebook to some of the most unusual plants in the province.  Orchids of Manitoba has the floral 411 on all 38 varieties of orchids known to grow within our borders, including several rare and flamboyant-looking species and many others hikers and canoeists may encounter on the trail.

You don't have to be a plant freak to love a book like this: The photography is strong and the scientific text is packed with interesting factoids.

For instance, the endangered western fringed prairie orchid, which only grows in a plot of protected grassland near Tolstoi, is only pollinated by a pair of uncommon moths whose heads and snouts are the right shape to sip the flower's nectar.

Orchids of Manitoba retails for $17.95 at McNally Robinson Booksellers, university bookstores and ecotourism centres like Fort Whyte and Oak Hammock Marsh.  It's also available at

By Bartley Kives

© 2005 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.  First published in the Saturday 2005-Dec17th issue of The Winnipeg Free Press.