Coelogyne rochussenii is a warm-growing, pendulous flowering orchid from low tropical areas of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (where it is rare). In these tropical countries it is found growing near sea level. Some images from these tropical areas have only one word to describe them - WOW!

It is really common in Singapore under cultivation and forms huge spectacular specimens with almost a curtain of pendulous spikes of flowers all around the pot.

Another 'old' Coelogyne, it was named in 1854 by Willem de Vriese to honour of Mr Rochussen, the Minister of the Colonies of the Dutch East Indies at the time.

Taxonomists like to have access to the stored dried specimens from which the original species was described. This becomes the official reference material for identifying and resolving any issues about name confusion, synonyms, variations and hybrids. Unfortunately, the original specimen of Coelogyne rochussenii somehow got lost and until a type specimen (an original dried, mounted botanical plant) was located in central Singapore recently, botanists had to rely on historic drawings as the formal identification reference (you can't take DNA samples from drawings!). It makes one wonder what would happen to all the old original specimens if there was a fire or flood or war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many plants no longer exist in the wild and so it is impossible to collect original DNA.. At least modern electronic data records of DNA can be stored cheaply in many places at once. It doesn't sound quite as romantic though. 

Coelogyne rochussenii produces 50+ nice lemon-scented flowers per spike and can flower at almost any time of the year in a tropical environment. A specimen size plant can look spectacular.

Cultivation Suggestions:  It needs total frost protection, high humidity and lots of moisture so it is a warm glasshouse job anywhere outside the tropics. The plant is rather large and needs to be suspended so that the half-metre long fragrant flower spikes can hang over the edge.

All orchids that require heavy watering should be in a shallow, well-drained pot so that the roots don't get waterlogged. Deeper pots have more media material and stay wet longer. Note the bad choice of colour of the pot above! Try not to use a pot colour that is going to play down the colour of the flower. Whilst on pots, any pot that gets direct sunlight, even for only a few minutes, will get so hot that it will cook the roots. A really simple solution (besides moving the plant!) is to simply sit the pot inside a slightly larger pot so that an insulating air buffer is formed between the roots and the sun.

Negatives: Needs absolute protection from frost and is a large plant. It needs a hot glasshouse. Although my plant is in a slightly heated glasshouse I am struggling to do justice to this beautiful plant. My outside temperature gets down to around minus seven degrees. Additionally, it is a big plant for the normal little glasshouse. It is so easy to be jealous of growers living in the tropics!

Rating: ♦♦♦ Because of the space it requires in a normal home glasshouse, I would recommend the hardier Coelogyne tomentosa or Coelogyne flaccida, especially in non-tropical areas.

Sometimes sold as:

Varieties: None known. Coelogyne pulverula (previously called Coelogyne dayana) is a closely related and similar growing orchid in habit.

Hybrids: None registered

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