Coelogynes  or Angel Orchids range over more than 100 species and can be found in India, southern China, the Philippines, Vietnam and down the Malay peninsula through the Indonesian islands through Borneo and New Guinea. They are mostly found growing epiphytically on trees in their natural habitat, but some are lithophytes which grow on rocks. Pseudobulbs are always present and in some species attain large dimensions. The flowers are produced  singly or in pairs of threes or in long multi-florous racemes.

Typically fragrant, the small to large blooms are often produced in large numbers on well grown specimens and vary in colour from white to brown, yellow or green and often have intricate mottlings or blotchings of yellow, brown, orange or almost black on the lip. (Cook, Terry. “Growing Orchids in Australia,” Golden Press, Silverwater, NSW, 1989).

coelogyne unchained melody

Coelogyne ‘Unchained Melody’

According to an article by Brian Milligan on ‘Coelogyne species and their hybrids‘ in Victoria, the most popular Coelogyne is  Coelogyne Cristata followed by C. mooreana, C. flaccida, C. fimbriata or C. tomentosa, all of which are suitable for a cosy shade-house. These species experience wet, warm conditions during the wet season, and cool, relatively dry conditions during the ‘dry’ season. They should be watered frequently during summer (every day or two) but much less often during winter (once every week or two). Read the full article from Orchids in Victoria Revisited, 2008 here.

Amongst a large catalogue of species, Englishman John Lindley (1799 – 1865) founded the genus Coelogyne in 1821. The name Coelogyne comes from the Greek koilos (hollow) and gyne (female), which probably refers to the deeply set stigmatic cavity found in members of the genus. Further information on its history can be found in this article from Even More Orchids in Victoria, 2006;  by David Banks.

For further information on Coelogynes and other orchid varieties, see the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV) Website under the section Articles & Resources.

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