CYMBIDIUM ALLIANCE (26)
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.
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
Anyone who has ever grown cymbidiums knows that these wonderful plants are probably the most robust growers of all the orchid family. One of the easiest but often misunderstood ways of propagating cymbidiums is through the growing of the dormant backbulbs. There is a natural tendency for these plants to drop their leaves and produce backbulbs, which, when separated at the time of repotting and sprouted, may be used to increase the size of one's collection quite easily. In this manner, one small plant may be grown and propagated into many within just a few years.
(by James Rose)
Growing heat-tolerant cymbidiums (HTCs) in tropical climates is easy and low maintenance. The ease is comparable to growing dendrobium hybrids, which is usually the starting point for beginners. HTCs generally can stand the impact of rainfall; therefore they do not need a rainproof roof.
(by Kobsukh Kaenratana)
(Memoria Amelia Earhart x Khai Tango)
(Pearly Queen x Sand Castle)
(Woody Wilson x Vogelsang)
A collection of Catasetum related links to items of interest found on the Internet, that do not fit in any of the three main catagories.
The cultural information below is a generalization and will apply in most situations; however each grower and growing environment is different. I encourage you to make adjustments based on your experience and growing conditions.
Catasetinae have a distinctive growth and rest period (dormancy). For best plant growth it is important to understand and respect these growth phases. When the plants are in active growth maintain constant root zone moisture and fertilize regularly. This is essential to optimizing the development of new growth. When the plants are dormant little or no water is needed as the pseudobulbs store enough moisture and nutrients to survive the dormancy.
Catasetinae plant culture is not difficult. All it takes is an understanding of the seasonal growth patterns. The plants vegetative state signals to the grower their changing needs. Interpret the signals and make the appropriate cultural adjustments. Here is what to look for:
The Sub-tribe Catasetinae includes the Genera Catasetum, Clowesia, Cycnoches, Dressleria, and Mormodes. Culture of Dressleria even though once included in the genus Catasetum is different. Do not try to grow Dressleria species using these suggestions.
The plants of Tribe Catasetinae are widespread in lowland tropical areas of South and Central America up to elevations of about 1200-1500 meters. Most of the discussion which follows pertains particularly to Catasetum a genus with 80-120 species. The plants can generally be found growing on trees, tree stumps, or old fence posts. The plants are weedy and tend to be fairly abundant once you find the first plant or plants.
Catasetum, abbreviated as Ctsm in horticultural trade, is a genus of showy epiphytic Orchids, family (Orchidaceae), subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Cymbidieae, subtribe Catasetinae, with 166 species, many of which are highly prized in horticulture.
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