Deep in the moist Eucalypt forest along the top edge of the Upper Kangaroo Valley, south from Carrington Falls, I found a number of plants of Cymbidium suave in flower, today. This is the first time I have found them growing on the top of the local sandstone plateau. I have seen them growing at lower levels, within Kangaroo Valley itself, and on the Illawarra Escarpment.
This was hard country to walk in, because of the dense growth of Sword Grass (Gahnia sp.), and Pouched Coral Fern (Gleichenia dicarpa). None-the-less, the hard work was made worthwhile when we found several large clumps of Cymbidium suave in flower. The first two I saw were relatively high. Then I found two clumps growing at head height.Despite its name (meaning "sweet"), I confess that I could not detect the perfume, but one of the women members of the group, could detect the spicy fragrance for which this plant is named. I have been aware for many years that my nose is sensitive to certain types of perfumes, but not others. For example, I can seldom "get" the perfume of Violets, except when conditions are perfect. Today was very windy, and cold, so perhaps that influenced my inability to detect the perfume.
I have just spoken with Alan Stephenson of ANOS, (by coincidence - he rang on another matter) and he commented: "What pollinator would want to be out and about on a day like this?" Good question, Alan. In other words, there is no advantage for the plant in producing its scent in cold, windy conditions. It may as well save its energy (scent) for when the conditions are favourable for releasing the scent.
I was intrigued to notice that this low-growing clump, in a dead tree trunk, had its roots growing right down through the rotten core of the tree (inside the hard outer-wood). But where the hard wood had broken away (rotted away) near ground level, you could clearly see the old roots of the Orchid, which had grown right down through the rotted core of the tree, about 4 feet (1.3 m) down from the leaves of the plant. This habit is recorded in the literature as normal, but it was interesting to see.