First found in southeast Mindanao, Philippines, only in 1999 and officially described in only 2001, this is a very 'new' Coelogyne species in the cultivation world. It is named after collector Vimoor Usita who found it growing on trees and rocks at around 800 metres, i.e quite low in a tropical country. My plants are very intolerant to cold temperatures and will drop flowers and leaves if the temperature drops below 10 degrees.

The flower lip grabs instant attention with its heavy colouring contrasting with the open, whitish sepals and petals. Depending on the light angle, it can be described dark brown, black, purple or dark orange. The flower opens with very dark lip colours and then it fades to lighter colours in the orange, rusty red range. The petals and sepals range from a very light green to almost white. The spike generally produces one flower at a time but every three weeks or so it produces another flower on the same spike. I have had up to 16 flowers produced on one spike over a 12 month period (others have claimed 20 flowers).

When it was exhibited by Burnham Nurseries at the Chelsea Flower Show, London, in 2002, the RHS Committee were unanimous in voting it an Award of Botanical Merit. That particular plant has been given the tag 'Chelsea'. The letters CBM are added after the plant's name. This award is granted, once only, to any species orchid which is new and/or rare in cultivation and which has been cultivated well and is a good example of its type. The award is used as a bench-mark for future awards of this species.

When time allows these orchids to grow into specimen sizes we can expect to see some spectacular displays.

Negatives: It is a bit expensive at the moment and can be difficult to obtain but this situation will improve over time. The 'droopy' nature hides the beauty of the flower unless it is grown in a hanging pot/basket or raised on a pedestal. Its tropical background requires total protection from frosts and ideally, good glasshouse conditions.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ This is a spectacular orchid. It has one of the darkest lips of all orchids. Few other orchids are as near to continual flowering as this.

Registered: 

Because of its colours this Coelogyne has huge potential as a hybrid especially if it can be joined with toughter varieties.

  • 1. Coelogyne Lyme Bay (Burnham Nurseries, 2006) - using a dark lipped Coelogyne speciosa as pod parent.
  • 2. Coelogyne Kirribilli Marie (Kevin Dawes, 2013) using Coelogyne mooreana 'Brockhurst' as the pod/mother plant.
  • 3. Coelogyne Orchideengarten Magdalene (M Karge-Liphard 2014) using Coelogyne fimbriata as the pollen parent.
  • 4. Coelogyne Orchideengarten Saskia (M Karge-Liphard 2014) using Coelogyne xyrekes as the pollen parent.
  • 5. Coelogyne Orchideengarten K R Gessert (M Karge-Liphard 2014) using Coelogyne cristata as the pod parent.
  • 6. Coelogyne OrchideengartenJoachim (M Karge-Liphard 2014) using Coelogyne salmonicolor as the pollen parent.
  • 7. Coelogyne Kirribilli Danielle (Dawes 2014) using Coelogyne assamica as the pollen parent.
  • 8. Coelogyne Kirribilli Nigel (Dawes 2015) - using Coelogyne ovalis 'Black Lip' as the pod parent.
  • 9 Coelogyne Kirribilli Carmel (Kevin Dawes 2016) - using Coelogyne celebensis as the pod parent.
  • 10. Coelogyne Kirribilli Anne Dixon (Kevin Dawes 2016) using Coelogyne eberhardtii as the pod parent.

< Coel triplicatula Coel viscosa >