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By Jay Pfahl

I started this project as "Jay's Key West Orchid Species Photo Page" in April of 1997 with a handful of photos of species within my own personal collection. I think I started with 150 species in 25 genera. The page was really a way for me to keep track of plants that I had and what requirements and temperatures were needed to keep it alive. Does it rest, need water year round, no fertilizer in the fall, grow at low elevations or high etc. After a few weeks of the site being out there, some people just started sending in photos of their species and lo and behold the Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia or IOSPE was born. Eight years and 6 months later the site boasts 5457 species in 591 genera with the help of hundreds of growers out there such as yourselves. I have kept the site free and intend to keep it so. It has a minimum of advertizing ie, Neptune Designs, my jewelry store. There are no paid advertizers, those greenhouses with photos listed may have a link to their site and it is free.

What I like best about the encyclopedia is that I never have to finish it. It is always a work in progress. I add to the page most every day. New information on taxomony, plant location and culture are always becoming available and as it is a webpage I can do easy updates. If this was a published book, all errors, incomplete data and new species would be impossible to add except by republishing the work. This is done only every 10 years or so if ever and you have to shell out for the cost of the new book.

Just think, there are 1500 pages of text in IOSPE at this moment. There are 4500 photos of orchids as well, even with 4 to a page, that is another 1150 pages. When was the last time you saw a published work with that many pages? Who would publish it and who could afford to buy it. Noone!

Another great aspect of this work is the fact that all the names, correct or synonyms, are in alphabetical order. What is great about this is no matter what name you have, the encyclopedia will point you to where the informattion on your plant is to be found. It could be that your tag is old, or that yours is so new that I have not had the time to segregate it to the new name, you still get to the info. As many of you may know, many books only list synonyms under the name that they deem as correct, which makes for some real crossreferencing to find that your plant is called something else. I have worked long and hard and have gone through close to 100 orchid books to compile the encyclopedia that you see here today. Check out the Bibliography section to see a partial list of the books used to compile the site.

Speaking of the research involved, I make mistakes! I admit it. So this work can be editted by you as well. If you are sure that something in the encyclopedia is wrong then e-mail me at JAY PFAHL. The page can be updateed and mispellings, bad info, and annoying typos can be edited out. Just let me know, I really appreciate outside editing. So, if you see a mistake or something bugs you about cultural info, or a link does not work, PLEASE PLEASE let me know.

I have been helped enormously by the orchid community, both amatuer, commercial and professional, American as well as people from 35 other countries. Current taxomonists are regularly writing me with suggestions and corrections on areas that is their expertise. I want to thank all that have helped and hope that others will contact me on their areas. I do try to stay current but many times it is just too daunting to extract all the Protheschea from Encyclia and repaste them into the P index, certainly when I have 2 volumes of the Orchids Of Ecuador to go through. Anyway, I get to things as time allows, I grow 2000+ orchids, many for sale and I have 2 boys, 13 and 17, plus a wife, a parrot of 25 years, a cute puppy that is a rat terrier-Shi Tzu cross, an 80 an hour a week, real job [actually creating jewelry at my store that I manage] and am the VP of the local orchid society and I coach inline hockey and I am getting ready to ride my bike for the second time from Miami to Key West [165 miles in November] so I ride 30 to 50 miles up and down US 1 on Saturday. Whew! when do I have the time? Mostly after 12am when all is quiet. That is when the really stupid mistakes happen.

The future of the page looks bright, I am still getting pictures from you, the growers. The page grew by 60 species and 4 genera just in the last month. Thanks to you all!

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