Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cymbidium insigne

Cymbidium insigne alba
About two years ago now I purchased a young plant of this species from Duckitt's at one of their monthly open days. The breeding was of Richard King so the quality of the plant is particularly high. It flowered for me once not too long after I purchased it at Duckitt's and I fell in love with the presentation of its humble and yet elegant flowers. I have kept many hybrid Cymbidiums before as I guess many of us do when we first become interested in the hobby, especially here in the Cape where the climate is particularly suitable for keeping them. I enjoyed my Cymbidiums thoroughly but then I had to give them up sadly when I moved to Durban several years ago to take up a job at uShaka Sea World. They were just too large to relocate and I had to select the few plants which I could relocate that would do best in the climatic conditions of Durban. This is when my fondness for Phalaenopsis really took off... but anyway, back to the Cymbidiums.
Cymbidium insigne originates from Thailand, Vietnam and China according to the IOSPE website. It grows in primary cloud forests at the base of large trees or bushes in shalow sandy soils as a true terrestrial (oops, mine is potted in bark chips but is doing just fine). The plants can grow large with age but the leaves are narrower than the common hybrids and even a small plant like mine gives off an impressive fountain of leaves. Mind you, the leaves are not as tough as those of the hybrids and my plant suffers chronically somewhat with browning leaf tips (maybe deficient in something because it is in bark chips?). That said, the plant is growing very well and is curently shooting new growths and has significantly fat little pseudobulbs to support them.
The Spike took quite a few weeks to develop and it measures about 90cm tall from the base of the plant, exceeding the upper limits of the leaves. The spike has 6 buds which are all similarly developed. The first two flowers opened yesterday and the others should follow suite in the next few days. My plant is the alba form. A special addition to my species collection. I just wish I had more of them!

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