l. f      Section Bigibbarium

Schlechter established this section in 1924, containing a single, very distinctive species.

l. f. I    Cym devonianum Paxton


Cym sikkimense

This species first flowered in Britain in 1843 at Chatsworth, in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire, a great orchid grower and a leading patron of horticulture of the day. It had been collected in 1837 by the orchid collector Gibson in the Khasia Hills in northern India.

This is a medium to small plant that grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte. Its pseudobulbs are represented by a swelling of the base of the shoot, about 30. x 20 mm. There are 2 to 4 true leaves, which are basicly erect, 200 to 500 mm long including the slender 'base'. The leaves are somewhat coriaceous, smooth, with a prominent mid vein, and showing a distinctive and characteristic shape. The flower scape is 240 to 440 mm long, pendulous, with about 15 to 35 closely spaced flowers. Each flow is 25 to 35 mm across, usually orientated towards one side of the scape, not scented. The sepals and petals are pale yellow to dull green, lightly to heavily mottled with purple-brown, the lip purple, the side lobes and disc cream with maroon mottling, the mid lobe maroon with two large, deep purple spots at the base.

It is native of Nepal, North East India, Bhutan, North Thailand, growing at an altitude of 1450 to 2200 metres above sea level.: It grows on mossy rocks and moss covered trees where humus and leaf litter has accumulated, in broken shade. It flowers naturally in spring to early summer. Under cultivation, some out of season flowering occurs.

This is a beautiful and distinctive species, both in its foliage and in its flowers. It has been used successfully in the breeding of modern miniature hybrids. This species does not show great variability, although the colouration of the flowers, and in particular the amount of the red-brown pigmentation on the sepals and petals can differ between clones.

Wilma Rittershausen notes that this species grows well in the cool house, subjected to a minimum winter temperature of 10 oC. She states the plants enjoy a fair amount of sunlight, and should not be over shaded, this being a common cause for non-flowering. It requires regular watering, being kept evenly moist throughout the year, although slightly dryer during the winter months. It produces an abundance of thick roots. Repot in a small pot until the rooting system is underway, and then place into a larger container. This species does not like being repotted too frequently. Always pot the plant higher than other cymbidiums, to allow the flower spike to be seen early, and guided over the side of the pot.

Site established 9th May 1998