The Cymbidium Orchid

(pronounced sym-BID-ee-um)

 

These orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring. There are two main types of cymbidiums - standards and miniatures. Where summer nights are warm (above 70 F), only miniatures can be recommended, because many are more tolerant of heat and able to flower in warmer weather.

 

Cymbidium, or boat orchid, is a genus of 52 evergreen species in the orchid family Orchidaceae. The new Latin genus name is derived from the Latin cymba meaning boat.

 

The Cymbidium in nature can be found in tropical and subtropical Asia (such as northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Borneo) and northern Australia. The larger flowered species from which the large flowered hybrids are derived grow at high altitudes.

 

Cymbidium plants are sympodial and grow to a height of 60 cm and the racemes as high as 90 cm. The raceme grows from the base of the most recent pseudobulb. Each flower can have a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, according to the species. They bloom during the winter, and each plant can have up to fifteen or more flowers. The fantastic range of colors for this genus include white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, and red [and orange] and black (and there may be markings of other color shades at the same time), but not blue. The flowers last about ten weeks. They have a waxy texture. The rounded sepals and petals have about the same dimensions.

 

There are fragrant varieties as well, notably the Chinese cymbidiums. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, especially in China. Cymbidiums became popular in Europe during the Victorian era. One feature that makes the plant so popular is the fact that it can survive during cold temperatures (as low as 7˚ C or 45˚ F) [Actually they will survive at temperatures below 32˚F for short periods and even as low as 28˚F].

 

The species Cymbidium hookerianum is considered a delicacy in Bhutan where it is traditionally cooked in a spicy curry or stew and called "olatshe" or "olachoto". It is sometimes confused with Cyclanthera pedata, another local delicacy (the nomenclature has not been clearly established; there are indications that "olatshe" usually refers to Cymb. and "olachoto" to Cycl., although not consistently).

 

additional reading and information

 

Cymbidium Society of America (CSA)

Golden Gate Cymbidium Society

Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society

 

  

Children categories

CARING FOR AND RE-BLOOMING THE CYMBIDIUM

For the Cymbidium to flower at its best, it requires some special attention from you.  Learn more about taking care of the needs of the Cymbidium by exploring the presentations here.

View items...

THE CYMBIDIUM SPECIES

Discover the variety of Cymbidium species.

View items...

THE CYMBIDIUM HYBRIDS

The resulting progeny from the union of two different species (known as a primary hybrid), or of a species and a hybrid, or of two hybrids (known as a complex hybrid).  

Discover the variety of man-made and naturally occurring Cymbidium hybrids.

View items...

DISCLAIMER

All information presented here is for educational and informational purposes only under the guidelines of "Fair Use" policies defined by US Copyright law(s).  Some images and select text are protected by respective copyright holders. Material presented here is done so as educational, and "as is".  The Napa Valley Orchid Society, it's executive Board, General members and the web site maintainer cannot be held liable for any damages incurred.

When necessary, images and texts will be fully credited to the original.

Information here may be used by other orchid societies as long as they credit the original creator and at least mention the Napa Valley Orchid Website as a courtesy.

TOP