Now Blooming: Cymbidium Pauwelsii 'Kessander' Orchid

Marvel in the beauty of one of the largest orchids in the United States, now blooming in the Chinese Garden.

In China, orchids have been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. Appreciated for their beauty and character, they figure prominently in Chinese culture. The philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE) saw orchids as symbolizing human virtues because the flowers provide fragrance even in the absence of admirers, like people of noble character who hold true to their principles regardless of their circumstances.

Orchids have always been of special interest at The Huntington. Henry E. Huntington's wife, Arabella, amassed one of the finest private orchid collections of the early 1900s. Today, The Huntington is home to one of the largest collections in the world. It includes many unusual species and truly spectacular specimens. The Cymbidium Pauwelsiii ‘Kessander’ orchid at The Huntington is among the largest in North America, spanning 7 feet in diameter and 8 feet in height when in bloom, and can produce more than 1,000 beautiful flowers.

More Plants "Now Blooming"

A large Cymbidium orchid with yellow-orange blooms, in a garden.

Cymbidium Pauwelsii 'Kessander' Orchid in the Chinese Garden. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden

A close up of a Cymbidium orchid with orange flowers.

Cymbidium pauwelsii 'Kessander' Orchid. | The Huntington Art Museum, Library, and Botanic Garden.

A large Cymbidium orchid with orange flowers.

Cymbidium pauwelsii 'Kessander' Orchid. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.


It all started with one single pseudobulb, 31 years ago. Today, it is an award-winning plant that proudly sits in The Huntington’s orchid collections, thanks to a generous donation from Jerry Kessler and Susan Anderson.

The Chinese Garden features a stunning lake, graceful pavilions, teahouse and tea shop, stone bridges and waterfalls set against a wooded backdrop of mature oaks and pines.

See the journey this single plant has made from a backbulb from Portugal in 1991, thriving in Massachusets under the care of Jerry Kessler and Sue Anderson, then to California in 2022, where it now resides at The Huntington.

Peak color is subject to change based on weather patterns, rainfall, high winds, and other factors. Stay up to date with bloom reports on our social media channels. TikTok | Facebook | Instagram

Explore an interactive map of what's blooming at The Huntington