We know that May is here when our Coelogyne nitidas start to flower. This pretty, fragrant orchid is one we have seen growing abundantly in the Hiamlayas and its flowering is always a treat.
We have two distinct clones of this lovely orchid, Coelogyne nitida ‘limoniana’ (above) with a very light yellow blotch on the lip, and the more common variety with a golden yellow blotch (below)
This is a cool growing species that we have seen growing in profusion in Sikkim and in Arunachal Pradesh. In our experience it grows in evergreen and semi-evergreen forest from about 1000m up to 2500m mostly on the trunks and lower branches, often with moss and ferns, The photos below show the species flowering in late April near Tawang in north east Arunachal Pradesh.
The Cymbidium growing with the Coelogyne is Cymbidium elegans (an autumn flowering species I am sure we will feature in October)
I highly recommend a trip to Tawang although this remote part of the Himalayas can be a challenge to get to, nestled in a cool tropical valley surrounded by snow capped mountains north east of Bhutan. As you can see from the map below Sikkim is not far to the west.
In cultivation we replicate the species’ cool wet habitat and find it grows best with a minimum of 6C in our Warm Temperate zone and we water well throughout the year. This is a great species for a cool greenhouse, conservatory or a cool room in the house – I grow a lovely plant in my East facing bathroom window.