Today we have the first of our Autumn flowering Cymbidiums. This is a group of orchids that are particularly dear to my heart as species we have seen in our school expeditions to Sikkim, and plants we have worked with right from the start of the Orchid Project back in 1991. So here is Cymbidium elegans – a very aptly named, elegant and fragrant species with very dense spikes of flowers that start upright and then become very pendulous.
Cymbidium elegans 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.
The species always reminds me of our wonderful times in Sikkim with students from Takse School, Gangtok, and going out into the forests of Fambong Lho (photo below) to identify orchids where this species was very abundant. It grows in cool wet evergreen forest and is usually high in trees.
We find that the species grows well in pots or baskets.