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Cymbidium ensifolium

April 5, 2011

There are two Cymbidium with seemingly similar blossom: C. ensifolium and C. lancifolium. Both are native to Thailand, but they grow in different habitats. C. lancifolium grows in dry areas, whereas C. ensifolium grows in moist evergreen forests. That is not very useful information if you want to make an ID of a Cymbidium in a pot, but important to know if you wish to grow the plant successfully. Flowering period is sometimes used for ID, but my experience is that this is highly unreliable in a garden situation.

The best character for an ID is the presence of pseudobulbs in C. ensifolium. They look like large swollen and flattened buds, covered with old brown papery leafs. Does anyone know of hybrids between C. ensifolium and C. lancifolium?

The flower of C. ensifolium has a reputation of being fragrant, but I am apparently blocked to that fragrance, I feel nothing, while Ketsanee does. On the other hand, I can feel the fragrance of Dendrobium albosanguineum very clearly, while many can’t. Fragrance is therefore an unreliable character for making an ID. C. ensifolium has been used a lot in making fragrant Cymbidium hybrids.

C. ensifolium is now in blossom at Dokmai Garden, which is not according to the literature (December-January).

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