Friday, January 21, 2011
CYMBIDIUM AND MEIRACYLLIUM: THE GIANT AND THE DWARF
Currently blooming are two fragrant orchids that couldn’t be more different. Cymbidium Eastern Melody is a primary hybrid between two Asian terrestrial orchids, Cymbidium nishiuchianum and Cymbidium insigne. However, C nishiuchianum is thought to be a naturally-occurring hybrid between C goeringii and C kanran, so it’s probably sort of a mutt. In any case, it’s a big plant, the kind that has grassy leaves as long as my arm and massive roots that break out of big plastic nursery pots made to hold trees. The flowers are beautiful, with lightly striped dark red petals and sepals and a big, white lip with dark red spots. The fragrance is similar to Cymbidium kanran, but stronger, maybe because the flowers are a lot bigger. The scent is mostly sweet and powdery with just a little bit of muskiness and fruitiness.
Meiracyllium gemma, also known as Meiracyllium wendlandii, is a miniature Central American epiphyte that grows on tree branches. It’s one of those super-cute orchids, with little succulent leaves that hug the wood that it’s growing on. The flowers are tiny, just a little over 1 cm across, and pinkish-purple, shaped a little like wild geranium flowers. For such tiny flowers, they’re surprisingly fragrant. The predominant scent is spice, mainly cinnamon, along with a little sugar. In fact, the flowers smell a lot like the little red-hot cinnamon candies.
I don't think either is unique enough to be perfume-worthy, but they're fun to have in the house for a while.