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King of Fragrance
Chinese Cymbidium Show
Exhibition Gallery, Botanical Garden
November 12, 2014 - February 28, 2015

An orchid in a deep forest sends out its fragrance even if no one is around to appreciate it.
Likewise, men of noble character hold firm to their high principles, undeterred by poverty."

- Confucius -

King of Fragrance
Cymbidiums (or boat orchids), which are native to tropical and subtropical Asia and North Australia, belong to the family Orchidaceae. They are a large group of grassy-leaved plants requiring different culture depending on the group they belong to.
King of Fragrance
There are two main types of cymbidiums: standards and miniatures. The standards are large-flowered while the miniatures are small-flowered. Both of them usually lack fragrance. Yet, there are fragrant varieties as well, notably the Chinese cymbidiums.

In China, Chinese cymbidiums have been cultivated, celebrated for their beauty and fragrance, and appreciated as symbols of nobility, friendship, and refinement for thousands of years. They have been a part of Chinese culture for centuries, permeating Chinese history, legends, literature, and art. In his writings, the Chinese philosopher Confusius (551 - 479BC) referred to the Chinese cymbidiums as the "King of Fragrance".

King of Fragrance
C. ensifolium
Chinese cymbidiums have been prized not only for their delicate fragrances but also for their gracefully variegated leaves and long-lasting dainty flowers. They bloom from winter to spring, lasting up to three months. Also, one feature that makes this plant so popular is the fact that it is easy to care for. The old saying, "weakly, weekly" is a good rule of thumb (fertilize using a weak solution one day per week) when fertilizing Chinese cymbidiums. With a little extra care, the breath-taking sprays of vividly colored flowers and beautiful arching, well-proportioned foliage are an attractive as well as exotic addition to your home or patio.

The Museum's Botanical Garden presents "King of Fragrance" Chinese Cymbidium Show in partnership with Taiwan Oriental Orchid Growers Association on Wednesday, November 12. A diverse collection of close to 70 species of cymbidiums is on display, including Dharmo, Ruei-hwa, Rih-hsiang, and San-chuan. Chinese cymbidiums are considered highly valuable for their sprays and foliage as well. In "King of Fragrance" cymbidium show, visitors can see a variety of cultivars, which are often one of a kind, or extremely rare. Also, the Chinese elements of calligraphy, beauties, clay containers and so on filled in the exhibition gallery will remind you of Chinese culture, from ancient times to the present day.
King of Fragrance
King of Fragrance King of Fragrance King of Fragrance

"King of Fragrance" will run through February 28, 2015. On any given day in this November and December, the exhibition will display cymbidiums such as C. ensifolium, C. sinense, and C. kanran, and in January and February of the following year, C. sinense and C. goeringii will be on the stage instead. Change-outs occur often; during the course of the exhibit hundreds of cymbidiums in long, vase-like pots will be on view.
King of Fragrance
C. ensifolium
King of Fragrance
King of Fragrance
C. kanran

"Orchids used to be expensive because they were rare and highly coveted. But they are now grown in mass quantities in Asia," said Mr. Su Mao-hsiang, Chief Secretary of Council of Agriculture, at the exhibition opening reception, "Leading the way is Taiwan. By making these blooms at once more extravagant and more available, Taiwan's orchid breeders have changed the way people around the world see orchids," Su noted proudly.

The Museum Deputy Director Chou Wen-hao added, "For the last two decades, the Museum's Botanical Garden and Taiwan Oriental Orchid Growers Association have cooperated to present a couple of orchid exhibitions. We share plants and resources, and alternate planning and hosting the exhibit. We are looking forward to seeing many visitors at NMNS." Enter and explore the elegant and fragrant world of Chinese cymbidiums!

  • Admission is free with Museum gallery ticket.

"King of Fragrance" Chinese Cymbidium Show is presented by the National Museum of Natural Science in collaboration with Taiwan Oriental Orchid Growers Association. Special thanks to the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, ROC for their assistance and generosity.