This is one of the most popular and commonly grown Coelogynes, not because it is spectacularly beautiful (or perhaps even beautiful!) but because it is so reliable, tough, easy-going and forgiving. It will reward with a huge display of fairly small, muted flowers over a couple of months and produce enough 'runners' every year to donate to all your friends. If you have to pay for one of these then you haven't asked around!

Like its Nepalese neighbour, Coelogyne fimbriata, there is a huge variation in colour and size and many growers end up growing more than one, or even getting a mini collection of colour variations.

The growth habit image above shows the plant has been flattened on the facing side because it was growing on the wall. There is a massive amount of growth on the other side and it can be seen that the plant is more than happy growing outside its pot. Any of the 'runners' could be cut off (keep 3 to 4 psuedo bulbs at least on each cutting) and potted into sphagnum moss to start a new plant. I will leave this plant as it is in this pot for another couple of years.

Dr Barbara Gravendeel in her research thesis, Reorganising the orchid genus Coelogyne, 2000, using DNA analysis has suggested that eleven closely related Coelogyne species should be reduced to only one name, Coelogyne fimbriata. This species would include Coelogyne ovalis. None of these changes have been made officially yet but all orchid (and other plant) growers should start getting used to the idea that science and DNA are more accurate than the old visual observation methods of the past when we grouped plants together because they looked similar.

An interesting theory on different plants looking similar and therefore being classified as related is one which proposes that plants in one area may have evolved to attract a specific pollinator in the area. In this way, even though they aren't related they end up looking similar.

Negatives: The flowers are a little on the small side and the normal plants available have a fairly muted flower colour. The 'China' variant has pretty flowers but is extremely straggly (see image above).

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ Everyone should have one so that they can feel successful at growing orchids!

Sometimes sold as: Coelogyne fuliginosa.

Varieties: Much work still needs to be done on sorting out this group of Coelogynes

Hybrids: Because Coelogyne ovalis is so popular and flowers for such a long period, the flowers are open at the same time as other Coelogyne flowers. Normally, this provides a lot of scope for hybridising. However, its flowers are rather small and their muted colour would both combine to negatively influence any off-spring. Not a lot of Coelogyne hybrids have been made because not many people grow a range of them and those they do have don't necessarily flower at the same time, let alone both potential parents having desirable characteristics.

1. Coelogyne Amber (Banks/Spence, 1998) - using Coelogyne speciosa as the pod parent.

2. Coelogyne Professeur Georges Morel (Jardin du Luxembourg, 2007) - using Coelogyne cristata as the pollen parent.

3. Coelogyne Kirribilli Sarah Jean (Dawes, 2014) - using Coelogyne mooreana as the pollen parent.

4. Coelogyne Kirribilli Nigel (Dawes 2015) - using Coelogyne usitana 'Golden Gate' as the pollen parent.

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