Cymbidium hookerinum

The genus Cymbidium contains some fantastic orchids and Cymbidium hookerianum is one of the most arresting. I think that once you have seen the vision of its light green fowers and delicately spotted lip it is something you will never forget.

We have been lucky enough to see Cymbiodium hookerianum growing wild in the cool wet mountain forests of Sikkim where it is a relatively abundant species from around 1500m to 3000m.

Most of the plants we have seen on live trees have not been flowering plants, whereas plants growing on dead trees flower profusely  and produce masses of large seed pods. This suggests that the species flowers in response to increased nutrient available in dead wood and the extra light once a tree dies and loses its leaves. In fact, it appears that these long lived plants hand around for years on trees waiting for them to die!

As its distribution suggests this is a really cool growing orchid and we have nearly finished our Himalayan greenhouse where we will be able to provide perfect conditions with a minimum of 7C during the winter and lots of fresh air. In summer the main requirement is water, water and more water - but we will remember the extra feed to encourage flowering.

The name honours Joseph Hooker, one of Britains great exploring botanists. If you haven’t read Hooker’s Journals I highly recommend reading them, and then exploring Sikkim for yourself.