I. e. Section Floribundum
A section comprising two species which have very similar flowers, but which have different appearance vegetatively. This section is closely related to the Section Austrocymbidium, both sections having many closely spaced flowers on a relatively short scape.
I. e. I Cym floribundum Lindley
This species was described by the botanist Lindley in 1833 in a footnote appended to his description of Cym suave. The description was made from a painting made by a Chinese artist. This name was ignored by later authors according to Du Puy and Cribb, becoming well known under cultivation and hybridisation under the later synonym Cym pumilum. This name was given in 1907, and described in much greater detail than Cym floribundum. Never the less Du Puy and Cribb believe that the first name is valid, and because of the rules of name priority, firmly believe that the name Cym floribundum must apply to this desirable species.
Cym floribundum is a clump forming lithophyte or epiphyte, with small pseudobulbs up to 33 mm long, 22 mm in diameter. The 5 to 6 leaves are 200 to 550 mm long, arching. The scape is usually 150 to 250 mm long, robust, more or less erect, arching upwards from the base, bearing usually 15 to 30 closely spaced flowers. Each flower is 30 to 40 mm across, red-brown or occasionally green in colour, not scented. The sepals and petals are strongly flushed with red-brown with a narrow, yellow or green margin. The lip is white mottled purple-red on the aide lobes, and blotched with purple-red on the mid lobe, occasionally with pink markings instead, yellow at the base.
It is native of South China, Taiwan (not Japan, to which it was introduced by man, although has become established in that country), growing from 1500 to 2800 metres above sea level. Naturally it prefers to grow as a lithophyte on rocks in shaded gorges, often in pine forest, or in full sun, but also recorded growing on trees as an epiphyte. Regarded as a montane plant, it is also noted that it has a high tolerance of dry conditions. It can form large clumps when growing in open places, such as on cliffs.
I. e. II Cym sauvissimum Sander ex. Curtis.
This species was first described in the Gardener's Chronicle in 1928 by its editor C. H. Curtis, from a plant exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society by the great English nursery of Messrs Sander. The species has been collected only the once, and it is thought that all the plants now in cultivation are derived from the original collection. It is not known for certain where these plants originally came from, but Ghose in 1960 states that Kohn collected the plants near Bhamo in Northern Burma, close with the border with Yunnan China. While thought to be a valid species, there is a possibility that it may be a natural hybrid, especially because of its apparent restricted distribution. Vegetatively the plant is similar to those species from the Iridorchis Section, but the flower is almost identical to a large Cym floribundum.
This is a large plant, with pseudobulbs 60 x 30 mm. The 5 to 7 leaves on each pseudobulb are up to 700 mm long. The flower scape is usually about 500 mm long, robust, somewhat erect, arching upwards from the base of the pseudobulb, bearing about 50 closely spaced flowers. Each flower is as about 35 mm across, red-brown, sweetly fruit scented. The tepals are green or yellow at the margins, strongly flushed red-brown in the centre. The lip is white, mottled purple-red on the side lobes, and blotched with purple-red on the mid lobe, yellow at the base, turning bright red on pollination.
It is believed to originate from North Burma, from about 800 to 1000 metres above sea level. Its specific habitat is not known, but it is thought to come from tropical evergreen lower montane forest. Its flowering period is mid/late summer.