AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Cymbidiella Rolfe, Orchid Rev. 26: 58 (1918).
Synonyms:
Caloglossum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 1: 212 (1918).
Description:
Plants large, terrestrial or epiphytic; pseudobulbs elongated, bearing 8-40 leaves, attached at various points along the bulb, persistant, membranous, plicate-veined, articulate to the sheaths, regularly distichous and flabelliform. Inflorescence arising from the bane of the mature bulb, simple or paniculate; flowers numerous, large; bracts narrow. Sepals and petals free or rarely (lateral sepals and petals) shortly attached to the column foot. Labellum 3 - 4-lobed, with a spur, provided with 2 calluses or lamellaes basally. Column foot short; rostellum notched medially, with 2 lateral lobules. Anther with an appendage (a specialized gibbosite) or with a single posterior appendage; pollina with a short, fixed, retracted cauda and a single viscidium, without crescent shaped notches in front.
Distribution:
Madagascar
Cultivation:
The cultural requirements of Cymbidiella are relatively simple. Cymbidiella pardalina and Cymbidiella falcigera require different cultural treatment from Cymla. flabellata, as they differ significantly in their respective natural environments. All three cymbidiellas need high humidity and high heat throughout the year. Cymbidiellas do not have a distinct cooling off or dry period and should not be exposed to temperatures below about 59 F (15 C). The light requirements differ slightly between species. Cymbidiella pardalina and Cymla. falcigera do best in medium light (1,000 to 2,000 foot-candles); moderate shade should be given as the leaves seem fairly prone to scorching. Cymbidiella flabellata, which naturally inhabits shady bogs, requires slightly more shade than the other two Cymbidiella.


Feed and water all Cymbidiella copiously as they are robust and vigorous growers. Cymbidiella pardalina and Cymbidiella falcigera, both large epiphytes, need to be potted in large wooden slat baskets (preferably 6 to 10 inches) using a porous potting medium such as osmunda or tree-fern fiber. Cymbidiella flabellata does not require a well-draining medium; actually, it prefers a moist medium. Sphagnum moss is an excellent potting medium for Cymbidiella flabellata because sphagnum retains moisture. A little humus might be added to the sphagnum. Grow Cymbidiella flabellata in a large pot. Allow substantial pot room for all three species as they can be rampant growers.


The cultural requirements of Cymbidiella are not demanding and are comparatively easy with a single exception: repotting. Cymbidiellas are extremely intolerant of root disturbance, perhaps more so than most orchids a grower might ever encounter. All three Cymbidiella have a notorious habit of refusing to bloom for several years if hastily or carelessly repotted. It is best to minimize root disturbance as much as possible. Success can only be obtained through diligent, careful repotting. When early growers of cymbidiellas expressed dismay after their orchids refused to bloom year after year, it was probably not because of the growers' poor cultivation techniques but rather because they unknowingly had failed to repot carefully. The problem of root disturbance should not deter an orchid grower from at least attempting to cultivate these orchids.


It is important to note that cymbidiellas are not grown with the same conditions as afforded to cymbidiums. Just because they carry their name, do not assume similar cultural requirements. However, treat cymbidiellas as cymbidiums with respect to treatment of disease. Watch out for fungal disease, especially on imported plants of Cymbidiella falcigera and Cymbidiella flabellata. Dip cut rhizomes into an anti-fungicide powder immediately after importation. Watch for thrips and mealybugs on the buds and the blossoms of Cymbidiella humblotti.
Notes:
The taxonomy of Cymbidiella is confusing and not fully resolved. Some orchid taxonomists place Cymbidiella in the Cymbidiinae subtribe; others place Cymbidiella in the Cyrtopodiinae. The most recent placement of Cymbidiella is in the Cyrtopodiinae subtribe as Cymbidiella is much more closely allied to Cyrtopodiinae genera Eulophiella and Grammangis than to Cymbidium.
In 1976, Leslie Garay, PhD, wrote a revision of Cymbidiella species in the Orchid Digest, in which he maintained there are three species. However, Garay changed the species nomenclature of two species, pointing out Cymbidiella pardalina is the correct name for Cymbidiella rhodochila and Cymla. falcigera is the correct name for Cymbidiella humblotti.
Species:

Cymbidiella falcigera (Rchb.f.) Garay N. & NE. Madagascar.
Cymbidiella flabellata (Thouars) Rolfe Madagascar.
Cymbidiella pardalina (Rchb.f.) Garay E. Madagascar

 

World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/ accessed 1/17/2010
Bibliography and References:
Garay LA. 1976 The cultivated species of Cymbidiella. Orchid Dig. 40. (5): 192 - 193 (1976)
Hermans J, Hermans C. 1994 Cohabitation in Madagascar: the Cymbidiellas. Orchid Rev. 102. (1196): 64-69 (1994)
Herndon CN. 1996 Cymbidiella: a study in contrasts. Orchids 65. (4): 390-397 (1996)
Kennedy GC. 1972 Notes on the genera Cymbidiella and Eulophiella of Madagascar. Orchid Dig. 36. (4): 120-122 (1972)
Pottinger M. 1982 African orchids Cyrtorchis and Cymbidiella. Orchid Rev. 90. (1065): 228-229 (1982)
Sheehan T, Sheehan M. 1993 Orchid genera illustrated: 154. Cymbidiella. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 62. (9): 918-919 (1993)