1. Family: Orchidaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Cymbidium Sw.
      1. Cymbidium hookerianum Rchb.f.

        Cymbidium hookerianum was first described in 1851 under the name C. grandiflorum, based on a specimen collected in 1848 in Bhutan by William Griffith (a botanist from Ham in Surrey) while serving with a British diplomatic mission. Unfortunately the name C. grandiflorum had previously been used for a distinct species now placed in Pogonia. The next available and legitimate name for the species was C. hookerianum, based on living material collected by the British botanist Thomas Lobb in the early 1850s.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    The large-flowered Cymbidium hookerianum was named in honour of Sir Joseph Hooker, the second Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Cymbidium hookerianum was first described in 1851 under the name C. grandiflorum, based on a specimen collected in 1848 in Bhutan by William Griffith (a botanist from Ham in Surrey) while serving with a British diplomatic mission. Unfortunately the name C. grandiflorum had previously been used for a distinct species now placed in Pogonia. The next available and legitimate name for the species was C. hookerianum, based on living material collected by the British botanist Thomas Lobb in the early 1850s.

    This material flowered soon after its introduction to the nursery of Messrs James Veitch &Sons. It did not flower again until 1866, when the German orchidologist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach described it, naming it in honour of Sir Joseph Hooker, the second Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The same plant was the subject of an illustration in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1866.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Cymbidium hookerianum occurs in the Himalaya of eastern Nepal, Sikkim and Assam in north-eastern India, in Myanmar, and in south-western China, where it occurs in northern Yunnan, south-western Sichuan and south-eastern Xizang (Tibet). It is found between 1,500 and 2,600 m above sea level.

    Description

    Overview:   Cymbidium hookerianum is a perennial, epiphytic or lithophytic herb. It has somewhat bilaterally-flattened, ovoid pseudobulbs, 3-6 cm long and 1.5-3.5 cm wide. Each pseudobulb has 4-8 strap-like leaves with pointed tips, which are up to 80 x 1.4-2.1 cm. 

    Leaves: The leaf bases (which extend 4-10 cm from the pseudobulb) are yellow with clearly defined green stripes.

    Flowers: The scape (inflorescence stalk) is up to 70 cm long, and each inflorescence bears 6-15 flowers. The flowers are up to 14 cm in diameter and have a strong, fresh scent. The sepals and petals are uniform apple-green, occasionally lightly shaded with red-brown, with some deep red spots towards the base. The lip of the flower is cream-coloured, becoming greenish at the margin, flushing strong purplish-pink after pollination. The side-lobes have deep maroon spots, and the mid-lobe has a sub-marginal ring of red-brown blotches and spots, and a broken central line of red blotches. The base of the lip is bright yellow with maroon spots.

    Fruits: The fruit is a stalked capsule 13 cm long and 4 cm in diameter, with a 2.5 cm long apical beak.

    Threats and conservation

    Cymbidium hookerianum is vulnerable due to its continued collection for horticultural use, both locally and for export abroad.

    Uses

    Cymbidium hookerianum is one of the large-flowered species that were used in the production of modern Cymbidium hybrids, which are such an important feature of the orchid nursery trade today. The buds of this species, and of the allied C. elegans , are used by the Bhutanese as an ingredient in curries, giving the food a slightly bitter flavour. In India, the seeds are applied to cuts and injuries as a haemostatic.

    Cultivation

    Grown in an intermediate greenhouse with the temperate maintained at a minimum of 18-20˚C during the day and allowed to drop to a minimum of about 10-12˚C at night.

    Cultivated specimens have a tendency to drop their flower buds, or even to fail to form flower spikes, if the growing conditions are too warm. This reflects the cooler climatic conditions in which Cymbidium hookerianum is found in nature. Flowering January to March.

    This species at Kew

    Cymbidium hookerianum has been cultivated periodically at Kew for over a century. Two alcohol-preserved specimens of this species are held in the Spirit Collection of the Herbarium, one of the behind-the-scenes areas of Kew. The details of these specimens can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Distribution
    China, India, Myanmar
    Ecology
    As an epiphyte on trees in damp, shady forests or on steep banks or rocks, often where thick moss cover occurs.
    Conservation
    Vulnerable (VU A1cd) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Listed in Appendix II of CITES.
    Hazards

    None known.

    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental. Cultivated by orchid enthusiasts.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Assam, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam

    Cymbidium hookerianum Rchb.f. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Bailes, C. [1027], India 49497.000
    Young, E. 47872.000

    First published in Gard. Chron. 1866: 7 (1866)

    Accepted by

    • Pedersen, H.Æ. & al. (2014). Flora of Thailand 12(2): 303-670. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok.
    • Wu, Z. & Hong, D. (eds.) (2009). Flora of China 25: 1-570. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
    • Raskoti, B.B. (2009). The Orchids of Nepal: 1-252. Bhakta Bahadur Raskoti and Rita Ale.
    • Lucksom, S.Z. (2007). The orchids of Sikkim and North East Himalaya: 1-984. S.Z.Lucksom, India.
    • Averyanov, L.V. & Averyanova, A.L. (2003). Updated Checklist of the Orchids of Vietnam: 1-101. Vietnam National University Publishing House, Hanoi.
    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Du Puy, D. & Cribb, P. (2007). The Genus Cymbidium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Rao, A. N. (2004). Medicinal orchid wealth of Arunachal Pradesh. Indian Medicinal Plants of Conservation Concern (Newsletter of ENVIS Node, Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore) 1(2): 1-5.
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Pedersen, H.Æ. & al. (2014). Flora of Thailand 12(2): 303-670. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok.
    • Averyanov, L.V. & Averyanova, A.L. (2003). Updated Checklist of the Orchids of Vietnam: 1-101. Vietnam National University Publishing House, Hanoi.

    Sources

    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0