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Cymbidium Sw.


Terrestrial, epiphytic or rarely saprophytic herbs with basal pseudobulbs of a few internodes. Roots thick, with whitish velamen, 5-10 mm in diam. Pseudobulbs ovoid or clavate, bearing tuft of leaves, covered with sheaths or overlapping leaf-bases. Leaves alternate or fascicled, linear or oblong-lan-ceolate, erect or curved, entire or minutely serrulate, coriaceous or membranaceous, never plicate, petiolate or not. Peduncle arising from lower part or base of pseudobulb, erect, arched or pendulous, with solitary flower or many racemose flowers; bracts shorter or longer than pedicel and ovary. Flowers fairly large, often fragrant; sepals nearly equal, free and spreading, linear lanceolate, oblong or lanceolate; petals nearly same length or shorter than sepals, oblong or ovate oblong, not widely spreading, often covering column and lip; lip hinged to base of column or basally united with base and sides of column, more or less 3-lobed, lateral lobes often erect and embracing column, midlobe usually recurved downwards, disc with 2 longitudinal keels; column rather long, semiterete, apex enlarged; anther terminal, operculate, 2-celled; pollinia 2, deeply cleft, or 4 in 2 superposed pairs, joined by short caudicle to broad common viscidium; stigma entire. Capsules usually fusiform.

Species ca. 44, from Himalaya, India, Indochina, China and Japan, southward through the Philippines, Malaysia to Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Nine species with four varieties in Taiwan.


1 Flowers pendulous from rachis; sepals and petals not spreading; lip basally united with base and sides of column, fixed and not mobile.   Cymbidium cochleare
+ Flowers ascending from rachis; sepals and petals more or less spreading; lip hinged to base of column and basally free from column margins, mobile.   (2)
2 (1) Plants usually epiphytic; leaves linear; bracts scale-like, shorter than 1/4 of pedicellate ovary; pollinia 2, deeply and unequally cleft.   (3)
+ Plants usually terrestrial; leaves linear or oblong-lanceolate; bracts larger, longer than 1/2 of pedicellate ovary; pollinia 4, in 2 superposed pairs.   (4)
3 (2) Peduncle pendulous or arched; sepals and petals white, sepals with purple median streak; keels on lip minutely pubescent.   Cymbidium dayanum
+ Peduncle erect or ascending; sepals and petals dark purple, turning yellowish toward margins; keels on lip glabrous or minutely papillose.   Cymbidium floribundum
4 (2) Leaves oblong or lanceolate, distinctly petiolate; pseudobulbs cylindrical or shortly clavate; peduncle lateral from lower part of pseudobulb.   (5)
+ Leaves linear, not petiolate; pseudobulbs ovoid or shortly clavate; peduncle arising from base of pseudobulb.   (7)
5 (4) Leaves minutely serrate on upper margins; sepals and petals white or yellowish white.   var. lancifolium
+ Leaves usually entire throughout; sepals and petals lime green to brownish green.   (6)
6 (5) Pseudobulbs usually less then 10 cm long; leaves usually less than 18 cm long; sepals lime green to dull green, length/width ratio ca. 4.   var. aspidistrifolium
+ Pseudobulbs usually longer 15 cm; leaves 20-30 cm long; sepals brownish green, length / width ratio 5-6.   var. syunitianum
7 (4) Peduncle usually with 1 or 2 flowers or 2-4 flowers; bracts of uppermost flower longer than pedicellate ovary.   (8)
+ Peduncle usually with 5 to many flowers; bracts of uppermost flower nearly as long or shorter than pedicellate ovary.   (10)
8 (7) Roots ca. 5-6 mm thick; leaves microscopically serrulate; flowers usually solitary or 2; sepals not twisted.   (9)
+ Roots more than 8 mm thick; leaves distinctly serrulate; flowers usually 2-4; sepals more or less twisted.   var. tortisepalum
9 (8) Leaves 7-12 mm wide, cross section at middle part V-shaped or nearly flat.   var. goeringii
+ Leaves 2.5-5 mm wide, cross section at middle part U-shaped.   var. serratum
10 (7) Roots ca. 10 mm thick; leaves 6-10 on each pseudobulb, distinctly serrate.   Cymbidium faberi
+ Roots less than 7 mm thick; leaves usually 2-5 on each pseudobulb; entire or nearly so.   (11)
11 (10) Length / width ratio of sepals larger than 8.   Cymbidium kanran
+ Length / width ratio of sepals ranging from 3 to 6.   (12)
12 (11) Leaves 2-3.5 cm wide; peduncle and rachis usually 60-90 cm tall.   Cymbidium sinense
+ Leaves 1-2.5 cm wide; peduncle and rachis less than 50 cm tall.   Cymbidium ensifolium

  • List of lower taxa


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