This sub genus was established in 1984. Species in this grouping have at times also been known under the genera Cyperorchis, Iridorchis and Arethusantha. The sub genus contains 5 sections, all of which are characterised by having narrow, somewhat translucent incurved leaf margins. The flowers are relatively large.

2. a      Section Iridorchis

The species in this section, along with Cym eburneum and Cym erythrostylum have formed the basis for the breeding of the large flowered modern hybrids. The_ flowers are typically large and open widely. The vegetative plant is robust with long pseudobulbs that are produced annually. The flowers originate from the base of the pseudobulbs. All of the species in this section, together with Cym eburneum and erytrostylum, form the basis for the breeding of the large flowered modern hybrids. The flowers are typically large and have been under great collection pressure with the result that they are now rare and naturally confined to a few of the more inaccessible mountains.

2. a. I     Cym tracyanum L. Castle

This species was first recorded in December 1890 when it flowered in the collection of Mr Tracy in Twickenham, having been imported three years previously with Cym lowianum. It was exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society, and was described in the Journal of Horticulture by Castle in 1890.

This is an epiphyte or lithophyte, producing thick fleshy roots, often with erect aerial roots surrounding the base of the plant. Its pseudobulbs are 50 to 150 mm long, 20 to 60 mm in diameter. The leaves are up to 950 mm long. The scape is up to 1300 mm long, more or less erect or arching, bearing 10 to 20 flowers. The flowers are up to 150 mm across, strongly sweetly scented. The tepals are yellowish green to olive green strongly stained with irregular dull red-brown veins and spots. The lip is pale yellow to cream, with side lobes veined dark red-brown, the mid lobe marked with scattered spots and vertical dashes of red-brown with a central reddish stripe.

Native of China, East and North Burma, North Thailand, it grows at an altitude of 1200 to 1900 metres above sea level. It prefers damp rocks or growing on trees in damp shaded forest, often near or overhanging streams. It flowers naturally in early autumn to mid winter.

2. a. II   Cym iridoides D. Don


Cym giganteum
Cyperorchis gigantea
Iridorchis gigantea

This species was first collected in Nepal by Wallich in 1821, being described by David Don in 1825. This is one of the less showy species of the section, with flowers that often do not open fully.

This species grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte, with pseudobulbs 50 to 170 mm long, 20 to 60 mm in diameter. The leaves are 900 mm or more long. The scape is 450 to 850 mm long, erect to horizontal, bearing 7 to 20 flowers. The individual flowers are up to 100 mm across, scented. The tepals are yellowish-green heavily stained with irregular veins and spots of red or ginger-brown, with a narrow cream margin. The lip is yellowish, the side lobes dark red veined, the mid lobe yellow at the base, marked with a broad band of deep red spots and blotches.

This is native of Nepal, North India, Bhutan, Burma and South West China. It grows at an altitude of 1200 to 2200 metres above sea level. Its primary habitat is on trees, in dense forest, especially in hollows containing decomposing vegetable matter. It flowers naturally from late summer to early winter.

2. a. Ill  Cym erythraeum Lindley


Cym longifolium sensu
Cym hennisanum
Cyperorchis longifolia
Cyperorchis hennisiana

This species is best known under the name Cym longifolium. It has been shown that the type specimen of Cym longifolium, collected by Natheniel Wallich in Nepal, is referable to the species commonly known as Cym elegans. Lindley misapplied both of these names in his book General and Species of Orchidaceous Plants, and they have been incorrectly used since then.

This again is an epiphytic or lithophyte plant, with pseudobulbs up to 50 mm long, 50 mm in diameter. 5 to 9 leaves are produced, narrow, up to 900 mm long, tapering gradually from the middle to a fine point. The scape is slender 150 to 750 mm long, erect to horizontal, arc hind, bearing 6 to 14 flowers. The petals and sepals are greenish, heavily spotted and irregularly striped red-brown, the lip yellowish to white, and the side lobes veined dark red-brown, the mid lobe sparsely spotted red or red-brown with a central stripe.

Native of Nepal, North India, Bhutan, Burma and China. There are two major variants (mainly in lip shape) characteristic of the opposite ends of the distribution range - which extends over a considerable distance. It grows in its natural habitats between 1000 to 2800 metres above sea level. It prefers rocks trees and steep banks in open forest, flowering in nature late summer to late autumn.

2. a. IV   Cym hookerianum Reichb. f.

Cym grandiflorum
Cym gigantea
Cym grandiflorum
var. hookerianum
Cyperorchis grandiflora
Cym hookerianum
var. hookerianum

First described by Hooker in 1851 based on a specimen collected in Bhutan, this name, had, however, been used by another author of a distinct species now placed in Pogonia. The next available name is Cym hookerianum.

This plant, an epiphyte and lithophyte, has pseudobulbs 30 to 60 mm long, 15 to 35 mm in diameter. The leaves are up to 800 mm long. The scape is up to 700 mm long, erect, bearing 6 to 15 flowers. The flowers are up to 140 mm in diameter, with a strong fresh scent. The tepals are clear apple green with some deep red spots towards the base, occasionally lightly shaded with red-brown. The lip is cream, becoming greenish at the margin, flushing strong purple-pink after pollination. The side lobes are spotted deep maroon, the mid lobe with a ring of red-brown blotches and spots and a central line of red blotches.

It is native of East Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam, and South West China, growing some 1500 to 2600 metres above sea level. It grows on trees or steep banks in dense, damp forest, flowering mid winter to early spring. There is a tendency of these plants under cultivation to drop their flower buds, or even fail to form flower spikes, if the growing conditions are too warm. This reflects the cooler higher altitude conditions that this species prefers.

2. a. V    Cym wilsonii (Role ex cook) Rolfe

Cym giganteum
Cyperorchis wilsonii

This species was discovered by E. H. Wilson in 1901 near Mengzi in south eastern Yunnan in China. He sent plants to the Messrs Veitch English nursery, who flowered it in 1904. There has been a continuing debate over the correct status of this species. There have been very few collections of this species; a single living specimens, probably from Wilsonís original collection, exists in the Edinborough Botanic Garden. Its rarefy, and superficial similarity to Cym iridioides especially in lip shape and colour, lends strength to the argument that this is a variant of that species. More recent detailed analysis has shown a relationship to Cym hookerianum.

An epiphyte, it has pseudobulbs up to 60 mm x 30 mm. The about 7 leaves are 900 mm long. The scape is 250 to 700 mm long, erect to horizontal, arching, 5 to 15 flowered. The flowers are 90 to 100 mm across, scented, the tepals green with some pale brown shading over the veins, and distinct red-brown speckles on the veins of the basal half. The lip is cream, flushing purplish pink on pollination. The side lobes are veined dark red-brown, becoming broken and spotted towards the margins and the tips. The mid lobe has a ring of red-brown blotches, and a reddish median to the front of the callus ridge.

It is native of China (south Yunnan) growing some 2400 metres above sea level. It grows on tall trees in deeply shaded forest, flowering from late winter to mid spring.

2. a. VI   Cym lowianum (Reichb. f. )Reichb. f.

 Cym giganteum var. lowianum                                                                            
 Cym lowianum
var. concolor
 Cym lowianum
var. superbissimum
 Cym lowianum
var. flaveolum
 Cym . lowianum
var viride
 Cym Cyperorchis lowiana
 Cym hookerianum
var. lowianum

                This attractive species was first collected in 1877 in Burma by the orchid collector Boxall, who sent plants to the English orchid nursery of Messrs Low. Reichenbach described it as a variety of Cym giganteum  from a dried  specimen, but noted at that  time  it  was possibly a distinct species. When imported plants flowered in 1879, he raised to full species level.

                This species is an epiphyte or lithophyte, with pseudobulbs 13. x 50  mm. The leaves grow up to 900 mm long. The scape is up to 1000 mm long, erect to horizontally arching, bearing 12 and up to 40 flowers.  Each flower is up to 100 mm in diameter, not scented. The tepals are bright apple green to yellowish, sometimes lightly shaded with red-brown. The lip is yellowish to white, the side lobes not marked, the mid lobe with a deep red, broad, V shaped mark, and a central red line to the callus tips. The base of the lip is bright yellow or orange, spotted with red-brown. It is native of North and East Burma, China, North Thailand, growing from 1200 to 2400 metres altitude. It prefers trees in damp, shaded evergreen or mixed forest. It flowers from late winter to early summer. The flowers are variable in size and shape, and colour.

There are two recognised varieties.

 var. lowianum has an arching scape, with a slender pseudobulb. The flowers are well spaced, the sepals and petals light green, sometimes slightly veined and shaded with red-brown, the lip shows a dark red or rarely yellow V shaped mark on the mid lobe. It is shortly hairy on the inner surface. This is the typical variety. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful of all the Cymbidium species. It is native of Burma, China and North Thailand.

var. iansonii has a scape not so erect as the above variety. The flowers are closely spaced. The sepals and petals are lightly to strongly shaded and veined with red-brown. The lip has a light chestnut-brown V shaped mark on the mid lobe. The flowers are also slightly larger than the above variety. Synonyms are Cym mandaianum, Cym iansonii and Cym grandiflorum var. kalawensis. This species is native of Burma. It first flowered in the collection of Messrs Low in England in 1900, having been collated in northern Borneo near Bhamo. Described in 1900, it was originally considered to be a hybrid between Cym lowianum and Cym tracyanum. In 1912 a second plant was exhibited, but named Cym mandaianum. A third specimen was discovered in i934. There has been some controversy over the correct status of this 'species' but recent taxonomic analysis has indicated that its position as a variety of Cym lowianum is correct. However, studies completed by George Fuller of New Plymouth (Orchids in N. Z. January 1987), for example, presents a contrary view on this matter.

2. a. VII  Cym schroederi Rolfe

Cyperorchis schroederi

Similar to Cym lowianum in habit, its flowers are, however, smaller. This species was first collected in Vietnam, and imported by the great orchid establishment of Sander. It was flowered in England in 1905 in the collection of Baron Schroeder.

It is an epiphyte, with pseudobulbs up to 150 x 40 mm. The leaves grow 600 mm long. The scape is 440 to 650 mm long; erect arching, bearing 14 to 23 flowers. The flowers are 80 to 90 mm across, not scented, the sepals and petals green to yellowish-green, with dull irregular light brown veins and spots. The lip is pale yellow, the side lobes veined with red-brown. The mid lobe is marked with a large red brown V shaped patch and median line to the front of the callus.

It is native of Central Vietnam, its habitat altitude and characteristics not known. It flowers from early spring to early summer.

2. a. VIII  Cym insigne

Cym sanderi
Cym insigne
var. sanderi
Cym insigne
var. album

This was first collected by Bronckart in 1901 in Annam, now Vietnam. He sent dried flowers and an inaccurate water colour to Kew from which it was described. This led to some confusion when live material entered orchid collections. This species has been awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society of England about 10 times, and there are many cultivar names for selected clones.

This is a terrestrial species, the only one from this Section. It produces pseudobulbs 80 x 5U mm. Leaves grow up to 1000 mm long. The scape is 1000 to 1500 mm long, erect, robust, bearing up to 27 closely spaced flowers. Each flower is 70 to 90 mm in diameter, not scented. The tepals are white or pink, sometimes with some red spots At the base and over mid vein. The lip is white becoming pink on pollination.  It is native of Vietnam, China and North Thailand, growing from 1000 to 1700 metres above sea level. It prefers very sandy soil in low open woodlands. Outcrops of boulders serve to bread the vegetative cover, providing a diversity of habitats. It grows in the shade of low bushes, its long flowering spike pushing through the twigs to let the flowers show above the foliage. It normally flowers in late winter to late spring.

2. a. VIII  Cym sanderae Rolfe (Cribb and Du Puy)

Cym parishii var. sanderae

Another species from Vietnam - from the Lang Bian Plateau, collected by Micholitz in 1904. The specimens of Cym insigne which he sent to Sander's were given the name Cym sanderi, while those of this species were named after Sander's wife as Cym sanderae. This name was not validity published, Rolfe subsequently publishing it as a variety within Cym parishii. Later detailed study confirmed that separate status was justified.

This is an epiphyte, with pseudobulbs 60 x 40 mm. There are usually 10 leaves, which are up to 500 mm long. The scape is 300 to 500 mm long, bearing 3 to 15 flowers on an erect or mainly erect, robust form. Each flower is about 80 mm across, scented, the petals and sepals white, usually flushed pink on the reverse with a few purple spots at the base of the petals. The lip is cream, usually heavily marked with maroon. The side lobes are usually strongly blotched and stained with maroon except towards the margins. The mid lobe is yellow in the centre and at the base, with a 2 mm cream margin and usually marked with a band of strong maroon blotches and random spots.

Native of Vietnam, it grows from 1400 to 1500 metres above sea level on trees, frequently in association with a Polypodium fern. It normally flowers from winter to early spring.

This species is very uncommon in cultivation, as was believed to have been lost until 1961. Mrs. Emma Menniger uncovered a single specimen in the nursery of Armacost and Royston in California United States of America. This plant was flowered in 1963. The cultivar 'Emma Menniger' is a tetraploid converted form from the diploid plant.

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