365 days of orchids – day 682 – Cymbidium elegans

This species has a real wow factor and for anyone who only knows the hybrid Cymbidiums available at garden centres a real surprise with its elegant pendulous dense spikes. I commend the botanist who gave it such an appropriate name.

The species is native to the Himalayas where we have seen it growing abundantly in forests above Gangtok (capital of Sikkim) as well as in North Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Unfortunately we have always visited the Himalayas in the spring (great for Coelogynes) and so have not seen the plants flowering in situ but when not in flower can be identified by the large number of seed pods left from the many crowded flowers on the spike.

When we were last in Sikkim we took students from Takse School out into the forests of Fambong Lho (photo below) to identify orchids and this one of the species the students found. It grows in cool wet evergreen forest and is usually high in trees.


It is a medium sized but vigorous species and we find that it is well suited to growing in a large basket which we water daily and develops a layer of moss over time. We grow with a minimum temperature of 10C in Cool Asia but it could tolerate lower.


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    Hi Simon please let me know if you get a plant of this I would be interested, best wishes Chris