Orchid Society of
Western Australia (Inc)
The Genus Dendrobium
By Ken Jones
The genus was originally identified and
named by Olaf Swartz in 1799; however there were two earlier names Ceraia
Lour. and Callista Lour. Therefore, the genus name Dendrobium
is a conserved name as it has replaced the earlier names. The type
species is Dendrobium moniliforme (L.) Sw. from Japan, Korea, China
and Taiwan, originally described by Linnaeus in 1753 as Epidendrum
moniliforme. The root of the genus name Dendrobium is dendro
= tree and bios = life. The species in this genus are generally light
loving, and in many instances, grow either high in the forest canopy or
in relatively unprotected locations where they are exposed to high light.
Dendrobium and its relatives can be found from India and Sri Lanka
to Tahiti, from Japan and Korea to Stewart Island (South if the South
Island on New Zealand). The majority of orchids in the genus Dendrobium
are epiphytic; however there are some members that are lithophytic or
terrestrial. They range in size from miniature to very large (up to 5m
tall), grow in climatic conditions from semi-desert to hot wet rainforest,
from sea level to 3,800 m in the high central mountain ranges of Papua
New Guinea. They can be found on fringing coral beaches, primary tall
rainforest, mangrove forests, in cultivated rubber and coconut plantations,
roadside cuttings, rocky cliff faces and rocky outcrops, stunted coastal
scrubland, paperbarks in swampy forests and city trees. These incredible
orchids are highly adaptable, are an important commercial product and
for many of us, were our first experience of orchids when we were given
a flower arrangement containing 'Singapore orchids'.
Dendrobieae is in the subfamily Epidendroideae of the family
Orchidaceae. The subtribe, Dendrobiinae contains the species
that we know as Dendrobium, while the other sub-tribe Bulbophyllinae,
the Bulbophyllum. This classification, proposed by Dressler 1993
has been used as the basis for this article.
Dendrobium contains about 1000 species, although this varies as
taxonomists discover and identify new species, or revisit past identification
and reduce species to synonymy. Baker and Baker (1996) found over 2400
valid names for Dendrobium species.
The genus Dendrobium is divided into six (6) main sections: Callista,
Dendrobium, Formosae, Latouria, Phalaenanthe, and Spatulata. Schlechter
(1982) classified Dendrobium into 41 sections, however for simplicity
this article will focus on the foregoing higher level Sections and some
of the more common members of each; identify their specific characteristics,
habitat, cultural requirements and the relative ease or challenges to
grow and flower them.
While now relatively common in cultivation, and in literally thousands
of hybrids, Dendrobium orchids are increasingly becoming threatened
in the wild as habitat is destroyed for farming and plantation purposes,
logging (both legal and illegal) and population expansion. Many members
of this genus come from highly populated regions of mainland and island
Asia where the need to house citizens imposes heavily on governments.
Currently, 31 (thirty one) species are listed as threatened on the ICUN
redlist, with three species Dendrobium huoshanense, Dendrobium officinale,
and Dendrobium schutzei shown as critically endangered. Another
8 (eight) are listed as endangered.
Approximately ten (10) species are described in section Callista. However,
as earlier noted, there are many synonyms for the species in this section,
one of most popular in cultivation in the genus due to their showy flowers.
In this section, we find:
* Dendrobium chrysotoxum
* Dendrobium densiflorum
* Dendrobium farmeri
* Dendrobium harveyanum
* Dendrobium jenkinsi
* Dendrobium lindleyi
* Dendrobium palpebrae
* Dendrobium sulcatum, and
* Dendrobium thyrsiflorum.
Dendrobium chrysotoxum Lindley 1847 (SECTION Densiflora)
is a smaller-sized, cool to warm growing epiphyte on generally deciduous
trees that lose much of their canopy
during winter. This species comes from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam,
China, Himalayas, Bangladesh and India at moderate elevations 400-1,600m.
Its common name in Thailand is the Golden Bow orchid. It has clustered,
grooved, clavate or fusiform, up to 30 cm, many angled, apically thickened
pseudobulbs that can be enveloped by many white, membraneous sheaths (a
common feature of many members of the genus) with 2 to 3 oblong to lanceolate,
coriaceous, acute leaves.
Flowering takes place in winter through
spring with an up to 30cm inflorescence that arises from nodes near the
apex of the pseudobulb. It is lax (loose, not tightly clustered) and pendulous.
The flowers are short-lived, but highly fragrant, with the fragrance said
to be honey-like.
Synonyms in use for this species are Callista chrysotoxa (Lindl.)
Brieger 1981; Callista chrysotoxa (Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Callista
suavissima Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium chrysotoxum var. suavissimum
(Rchb.f.) A.H.Kent 1888; Dendrobium suavissimum Rchb.f 1874
Dendrobium densiflorum Lindl. ex Wall. 1829, (SECTION Densiflora)
is the type species for this SECTION and is commonly named the densely-flowered
Dendrobium is found in Assam, Bangladesh, eastern Himalayas, Nepal,
Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Tibet, Hainan and southern China. It
is a small to medium sized, cool growing epiphyte or occasional lithophyte
on moss covered trunks or branches at altitudes 1,100 to 1,800m. Its habitat
has distinct seasonal variation between the hot, wet and humid summer
and the cooler, drier winter. Vegetatively similar to Dendrobium chrysotoxum,
it has erect, tufted, 7 to 12 noded, obscurely 4 angled, fusiform or clavate,
30 cm long stems with each node half covered by a white sheath and carrying
3 to 5, towards the apex, elliptic or ovate, persistent, acute leaves.
This species blooms from the late winter through spring with pendant,
20 cm, cylindrical, densely flowered racemes with scented, short-lived
flowers arising from nodes at or near the apex of the pseudobulb. The
in-situ photo on the following page clearly demonstrates the tight-bunched
flower raceme that is typical of this species.
Synonyms in use for this species are Callista densiflora (Lindl.
ex Wall.) Kuntze 1891; Callista densiflora (Wall.) Brieger 1981;
Dendrobium clavatum Wall. 1828; Dendrobium densiflorum f.
parviflorum Regel 1874; Dendrobium schroederi Dombrain 1870;
Endeisa flava Raf. 1837; Epidendrum dumunsuttu Buch.-Ham.
ex Lindl. 1830
Dendrobium farmeri Paxton 1849 (SECTION Densiflora) is perhaps
the best known and most frequently present in orchid collections. Found
in the eastern Himalayas, Assam, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia
as an epiphyte in evergreen lowland forests and primary montane forests
at 150 to 1,000 meters, its common name is Farmer's Dendrobium
(named after the English Supervisor of the Calcutta Botanical Garden in
the 1800's), this pendulous, hot to warm growing epiphyte has clavate
or fusiform, 4 angled above stems carrying 2 to 4, towards the apex, coriaceous,
ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate leaves.
occurs in spring on 20cm, pendent, many densely flowered, cylindrical
racemose inflorescences that arise from the nodes near the apex of leafless
and leafed canes.
Unfortunately, the flowers are short-lived,
lasting for only a week or so. Photo
Its habitat consists primarily of primary
forest tall trees, often adjacent to waterways and streams. This species
prefers some shading, and the climate features frequent heavy summer rainfall
with a dry, cooler winter. White, pink and white and yellow flower colour
forms are known.
Dendrobium farmeri is very similar to Dendrobium palpebrae
that can be found in the same habitats. Lavarack et al (2000) say that
the two species can be distinguished by the violet tinge to the flowers
of Dendrobium farmeri that is not present in Dendrobium palpebrae.
Synonyms in use for this species are Callista densiflora (Lindl.
ex Wall.) Kuntze var farmeri 1891; Callista farmeri (Paxton)
Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium densiflorum var. farmeri (Paxton)
Regel 1874; Dendrobium farmeri var. albiflorum C.Morren 1860; Dendrobium
farmeri var. aureoflavum Hook.f. 1864
Dendrobium harveyanum Rchb.f. 1883 (SECTION Densiflora)
is rare in collections, and is found in Yunnan province in China, and
Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. This rare species is a small sized, cool
growing epiphyte on tree trunks and large branches at 1,100 - 1,700m.
Commonly known as Harvey's Dendrobium, an Irish orchid enthusiast
from the 1800's who was first to flower species, it is also known in China
as Su Ban Shi Hu, and in Thailand as Ueang Kham Foi. It has erect, spindle-shaped,
deeply sulcate stems with several apical, deciduous, ovate-oblong, leathery
leaves. Flowering in late winter-early spring, it has a pendant, 15cm
few to several flowered, racemose, lax inflorescence that arises from
the nodes near the apex of older leafless canes with two-nine, fragrant
honey-scented flowers. The distinctive golden-yellow flowers have long
filaments edging the petals, while the round lip is fringed and densely
pubescent (covered with fine hairs)
Marni Turkel has a page dedicated to this species in which she reports
on the difficulty she experienced in successfully growing and flowering
this species. Her comments on Dendrobium harveyanum at LINK
are informative and thought-provoking. Marni
says that for many years she struggled to grow and flower Dendrobium
Her research into its habitat showed that it came from a classic monsoon
climate with heavy rainfall and cloudy skies in spring and summer. Autumn
and winter have little or no rainfall, with bright light and warm days
and cool nights. By the end of winter, humidity is low, and it is likely
that the orchids receive little if any moisture, even from dew.
She goes on to say that originally she grew the species with year-round
moisture. Her plant was a small, struggling specimen with few roots and
almost no flowers. With nothing to lose, several years ago she decided
to adopt a grow-or-die attitude and began giving it a prolonged dry rest
in winter. It was as if she had a different plant: strong growths, lots
of active roots and flower spikes every year. Synonyms in use for this
species are Callista harveyana (Rchb. f.) Kuntze 1891 Dendrobium
jenkinsii Wallich ex Lindley 1839 (SECTION
Densiflora) comes from Hainan province in China, Assam, eastern
Himalayas, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Laos. It is a small-sized, warm
to cool growing epiphyte in open forests on tree trunks at 700 -1,500m.
Its common name is Jenkins's Dendrobium - Jenkins was an officer
of the East India Trading Co. early 1800's. In China, its common name
is Xiao Huang Hua Shi Hu, and in Thailand, Ueang Phung Noi
It has clustered, branching, fusiform to ovoid-oblong, 4 ribbed, somewhat
flattened pseudobulbs carrying a single, terminal, thickened, leathery,
rigid, oval to oblong, obtuse, notched leaves . Flowering in early spring
on short 15 cm] long, arching to pendant, simultaneously 1 to 5 flowered
racemes that arise from near the apex of the leafed pseudobulb, it carries
short-lived, wide open flowers that are similar to Dendrobium lindleyi.
The main difference is that Dendrobium jenkinsii has a fewer flowered
inflorescence while Dendrobium lindleyi has many flowers. Dendrobium
jenkinsii has a bilobed lip while Dendrobium lindleyi is entire. Dendrobium
jenkinsii has clustered, sulcate, ovoid, flattened pseudobulbs carrying
a single, apical, ovate, thick, shiny, persistent leaf.
Some excellent photos of Dendrobium
jenkinsii can be found at LINK.
This species is almost always named by growers as Dendrobium aggregatum
, a synonym that has been published as valid in the Sanders hybrid list.
Synonyms in use for this species are Callista
jenkinsii Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium aggregatum Roxb. var. jenkinsii
[Wall.]Lindley 1898; Dendrobium marseillei Gagn. 1934
Dendrobium lindleyi Steud. 1840
(SECTION Densiflora) is found throughout southeast Asia, including
Sikkim, Bhutan, north-eastern India, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and
southwestern China at 400 - 1,300m. A miniature to small sized, hot-cool
growing epiphyte, this species can be found on the trunks and branches
of deciduous trees. In Vietnam, this orchid grows high in the canopy in
open, dry, primary, broad-leaved, semi-deciduous, mixed and coniferous
forests. The plant has erect, clustered, thickened upwards from a slender
base, almost spindle-shaped, angled stems carrying a solitary, oblong,
leathery, obtuse, leaf. Flowering in late winter-early spring, the pleasantly
fragrant flowers are borne on axillary, 5 to 15 flowered, often pendant
racemes that arise from nodes at the middle of leafed and leafless canes.
This species and its subspecies Dendrobium lindleyi var. jenkinsii
need a cool dry winter rest to ensure a spring blooming. As the bright
yellow flower colour indicates, Dendrobium lindleyi is a bright
light orchid and requires high light to flower well. Its common name is
Lindley's Dendrobium named after the 1800's English Botanist, John
Lindley. In Thailand, it is known as Ueang phung, and in China as Ju Shi
Synonyms in use are Callista aggregata (Roxb.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium
aggregatum Rox. 1832; Dendrobium alboviride var. majus
Rolfe 1932; Dendrobium lindleyi var. majus (Rolfe) S.Y.Hu
1973; Epidendrum aggregatum Roxb. ex Steud. 1840.
Most commonly, this species is sold as Dendrobium aggregatum.
Dendrobium lindleyi is free flowering once it grows to a reasonable
size plant as can be seen in the photo of Dendrobium lindleyi var.
majus on the following page
This species is also reported to benefit from a dry rest period and colder
night temperatures down to 10°C, and will flower more freely as a
Dendrobium palpebrae Lindley 1850 (SECTION Densiflora) is
found in Bangladesh, eastern Himalayas, Yunnan province China, Myanmar,
Thailand, Laos and Vietnam at 800-2,500 m (note the large altitude range).
It is generally seen as a medium sized, warm to cold growing epiphytic
species on primary and secondary forest trees. We saw this species in
flower at Dalat in Vietnam several years ago on a tour organised by Tony.
Vegetatively, it has clustered, rather slender to subclavate, sulcate
stems enveloped by membraneous sheaths carrying 2 to 5, towards the apex,
lanceolate to oblong, acute leaves. Blooming in spring and late summer,
6-15 flowers are carried on 15cm pendulous inflorescences. An albinistic
Its common name, the Brow-Like Dendrobium, and in Thailand, Ueang
Matchanu, is linked to the hairs on the lip base that look like eyelashes,
hence its specific epithet palpebra which means eyelid.
This species is often confused with Dendrobium farmeri as the flowers
and growth habit are very similar. The most significant difference is
that the lip is more ovate, and has low side-lobes and the hairs that
John Lindley described "like eyelashes".
Synonyms in use are Callista palpebrae (Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Callista
palpebrae (Lindl.) Brieger 1981; Dendrobium farmeri var.
album Regel 1868.
Dendrobium sulcatum Lindl. 1838 SECTION Densiflora is found
in Assam, eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and south
central China in tropical valleys at altitudes of 500 -1,000m. A small
to medium sized, warm growing epiphyte, this species has somewhat flattened,
25 cm clavate pseudobulbs carrying 2 apical, ovate leaves. Flowering in
late spring, the flowers are borne on short, pendulous inflorescences
produced just below the apical leaf. The short-lived flowers are fimbriate.
In India, the habitat extends from tropical valleys near Kalimpong and
Darjeeling in Sikkim to the Khasi (Khasia) Hills, Assam, Manipur, and
Megahalaya where plants can be found from 500-1000m.
Its common name is the Furrowed Lip Dendrobium, while in Thailand
it is known as Ueang champanan, and in China, as Ju Cao Shi Hu
The synonym in use is Callista sulcata (Lindl.) Kuntze 1891;
Dendrobium thyrsiflorum B S Williams 1871 (SECTION Densiflora)
is found in the Chinese Himalayas, Hainan China, Assam India, eastern
Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam at 1,200-2,000m. This species
is a small to large sized, cool growing, epiphyte, lithophyte or terrestrial
orchid inhabiting humid, mossy mixed and coniferous forests. It has slender,
ridged, rounded, club-shaped, yellowish apically stems carrying 5- 7,
persistent, smooth, flexible, dark green leaves. Flowering in spring,
the dense pendant raceme that arises from the apex of the cane can bear
up to 50 pleasantly fragrant flowers. The flowers are quite variable with
the labellum colour ranging from a pale yellow to intense orange-yellow.
Its common name is the Pine Cone-Like Raceme Dendrobium. In Thailand,
it is known as Ueang mawn khai, while in China, it is known as Qui Hua
Synonyms in use are Callista thyrsiflora (Rchb.f. ex André)
M.A.Clem. 2003; Dendrobium densiflorum var. alboluteum Hook.f.
1869; Dendrobium galliceanum Linden 1890; Dendrobium thyrsiflorum
var. bronckartii Cogn. 1904; and Dendrobium thyrsiflorum
var. minutiflorum Aver. 2012
The next section is Dendrobium. Several species in this section
are quite commonly seen in hobbyist collections and most are relatively
undemanding to grow and flower. Some of the more commonly grown species
in this section are:
Dendrobium albosanguineum Lindley & Paxt.
1852 SECTION Dendrobium is found in Myanmar and Thailand growing
as an epiphyte high in the canopy at 300-600m. The plants can usually
be found in the tops of the tallest trees, but is not common and may be
threatened due to deforestation and over-collecting. The plants have stout,
subclavate or cylindrical, clustered pseudobulbous canes with strongly
developed nodes covered in white sheathing bracts carrying linear-lanceolate,
light green, somewhat translucent, deciduous leaves. Spring flowering
takes place from the nodes near to the top of more mature leafed and leafless
canes on short, 2 to 7 flowered racemes with fragrant, fleshy, long-lived
flowers. This species comes from habitats that have a semi-dry, cool winter
Its common name is the White and Blood-Red Dendrobium,
and culturally, is said to grow best on tree fern slab as it prefers to
dry out between watering.
Synonyms in use are Callista albosanguinea (Lindl.
& Paxton) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium atrosanguineum E. Morren
& De Voss [Spalm]
Dendrobium anosmum Lindley 1845 SECTION Dendrobium is a
large sized species from Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines,
Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea where it grows as an epiphyte in gallery
layers of lower primary forests up to 1,300m. In the Philippines, this
species can be found growing in mountain forests generally below 750m
with Aerides quinquevulnerum and Anota violacea. While generally
these habitats are distinctly drier in winter, in some locations where
this species occurs, it is wet all year. In Papua New Guinea, plants are
common in the Bulolo and Wau areas where it can be found on rough-barked
trees from sea level to 1,300m.
It grows to be a large to very large, arching to pendulous orchid with
pendulous to120cm many noded stems with each node enveloped by a loose
fitting sheath and carrying oblong elliptic, acute, deciduous leaves.
Flowering in spring, racemes of 8 - 10 pleasantly fragrant flowers arise
from the nodes all along the apice of the leafless cane. Culture for this
plant can be problematic given the long pendant canes, and where possible,
slab-mounting is the most effective option provided high humidity can
be maintained through summer. Several colour forms are known including
an album form and some cultivars that are much more intensely coloured.
Its common name is the Unscented which is a misnomer as the species is
quite fragrant. In China it is known as Tan xiang shi hu
This species is often sold under one or more of the synonyms in use that
include Callista anosma O. Ktze. 1891; Callista macrophylla
[Lindl.] Kuntze 1891; Callista scortechinii O. Ktze. 1891;
Dendrobium anosmum var. dearei (Rolfe) Ames & Quisumb.
1935; Dendrobium anosmum var. giganteum [Rchb.f] Valmayor
& Tiu 1984; Dendrobium anosmum var. huttonii (Rchb.f.)
Ames & Quisumb. 1935; Dendrobium dayanum B.S.Williams 1864;
Dendrobium leucorhodum Schlechter 1879; Dendrobium macranthum
Hooker or Miquel?; Dendrobium macrophyllum Lindley not Ames or
Richards ?; Dendrobium retusum Llanos 1859; Dendrobium scortechinii
Hooker 1890; Dendrobium superbum Rchb.f 1864; Dendrobium superbum
var. anosmum Rchb.f ? ; Dendrobium superbum var. burkei
Rchb.f. 1884; Dendrobium superbum dearei Rolfe 1891; and Dendrobium
superbum var. huttonii Rchb.f. 1869
Dendrobium aphyllum (Roxb.) C.E.C.Fisch. 1928 SECTION Dendrobium
is found in Hainan China, Assam, Bangladesh, eastern Himalayas, India,
Maldive Islands, Nepal, Sri Lanka, western Himalayas, Andaman Islands,
Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Lesser Sunda
Islands, Sulawesi and Queensland as a large sized, hot to cool growing,
epiphyte or in deforested areas, as a lithophyte. This species which is
often named as Dendrobium pierardii or Dendrobium cucullatum
is found at 150-1,800m in lowland and primary montane forests, and in
China in mangrove swamps. It has slender, pendulous, leafy stems carrying
linear-lanceolate or narrowly ovate, acuminate, deciduous leaves. Flowering
throughout the year, but most commonly in winter and spring, the short
inflorescence arises from the nodes of older leafless canes and has 1-3,
fragrant, short-lived, nearly transparent fragile flowers, clustered close
to the cane. An albinistic form also exists. The fragrance is similar
to that of violets. This species is locally threatened due to habitat
destruction and clearing, and over-collection. Its common name is The
Hooded Dendrobium which refers to the cone-shaped lip, in China,
it is known as Dou Chun Shi Hu.
Similar to Dendrobium anosmum, this species
is best slab or mount grown to accommodate the long pendant canes.
Helpful cultural information can be found at
Synonyms in use include Callista aphylla Kuntze 1891; Cymbidium
aphyllum (Roxb.) Sw. 1799; Dendrobium aphyllum var. cucullatum
[R. Br.] Sarkar 1984; Dendrobium aphyllum var. katakianum
I.Barua 2001; Dendrobium cucullatum R. Brown 1822; Dendrobium
madrasense A.D.Hawkes 1963; Dendrobium oxyphyllum Gagnep. 1950;
Dendrobium pierardii Roxb. 1822; Dendrobium pierardii var.
cucullatum [R. Br.] J.D. Hook 1890; Epidendrum aphyllum
(Roxb.) Poir. 1810; and Pierardia bicolor (Roxb. ex Hook.) Raf.
Dendrobium chrysanthum Wallich ex Lindley 1830
SECTION Dendrobium is widespread through the Himalayan foothills
of the western Himalayas, Assam India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar,
Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. It is found as a large sized, warm to cold
growing epiphyte, as a lithophyte on limestone cliffs in narrow crevasses
and as a terrestrial species in humid, mossy, mixed and coniferous forests
and primary, broadleaf, evergreen, lowland forests at 300 -2,200m. The
pendulous, many noded, sulcate to 150 cm stems carry ovate-lanceolate,
acuminate, shiny green leaves. Blooming from Spring-Autumn, the few to
multiple flowered very short racemes arise on the opposite side of cane
to the leaf on the upper portions of immature leafed-pseudobulbs. The
that arises opposite to the leaves has 1-3 fragrant, fleshy yellow flowers
as the species name suggests. This species and Dendrobium gibsonii
are similar and therefore often confused.
Dendrobium chrysanthum has flowers with on canes
carrying leaves, wider petals, narrower spread sepals and a less-rounded
lip opening. Its common name is the Golden Yellow Flowered Dendrobium;
in Thailand it is known as Ueang thian, Ueang kham sai, Ueang pu loei,
Bai morakot and Uang Sai Morakat; while in China, its known as Shu Hua
Shi Hu. More cultural information can be found HERE
Synonyms in common use are Callista chrysantha
(Wall.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium chrysanthum var. anophthalama
Rchb.f. 1883; Dendrobium chrysanthum var. microphthalama
Rchb.f. 1879; Dendrobium microphthalmum Van Geert 1879; Dendrobium
paxtonii Lindley not Paxton 1839 .
Dendrobium crepidatum Lindl. & Paxton 1850 SECTION Dendrobium
is found is China, Assam, Bangladesh, eastern Himalayas, India, Nepal,
Sikkim, western Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam at 600-2,100m
as a small to medium sized (30cm), cool to warm growing epiphyte in evergreen
and semi-evergreen tropical forests. In India, it is generally found on
tree trunks in the Terminalia, Careya and Lagerstroemia spp along with
other orchid genera as a sub-erect to pendant species.
crepidatum var. assimica
It has tufted, sub-erect to pendulous, terete, striated, 45cm, many noded
stems each covered with a papery sheath, and carrying 5 to 9, oblong to
narrowly lanceolate, acute leaves. Flowering in spring, on short purple
inflorescences arising from near the apex of year old leafless stems,
this species has 1-4 shiny, waxy, delicately fragrant and long-lasting
flowers. An album form is known. Its common name is the Shoe-Lip Dendrobium
which refers to the cavity at the base of the column foot. In China, it
is known as Mei Gui Shi Hu, while in Thailand, Ueang Sai Nam Khieo.
Synonyms in common use are Callista crepidata (Lindl. & Paxton) Kuntze
1891; Callista lawiana (Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium actinomorphum
Blatt. & Halb. 1921; Dendrobium lawanum Lindley 1859; Dendrochilum
roseum Dalzell 1852
Dendrobium crystallinum Rchb. f. 1868 SECTION Dendrobium
found in the Chinese Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and
Vietnam as an epiphyte on small trees in exposed locations in evergreen,
semi-deciduous and deciduous dry lowland forests and woodlands, and primary
montane forests at 900-1,700m. This species is another medium sized, pendulous,
warm to cool growing epiphyte with slender, erect or pendant pseudobulbs
without nodes with 2-4, linear-lanceolate, soft-textured, distichous,
deciduous leaves. Spring to summer flowering, it has short 5 cm axillary
inflorescences with 1-3 highly fragrant flowers that emerge from near
the apex of new pseudobulbs.
An album form is known, and the flower colour intensity
of specimens of Dendrobium crystallinum can be quite variable,
while Dendrobium crystallinum fma. ochroleucum lacks the
purple-magenta blotches. Its common name is the Shiny Crystal Dendrobium
referring to the crystalline papillae on the column covering the anther
cap. In Thailand, it is known as Ueang Sai sam si and Ueang nang fawn.
Dendrobium crystallinum has been used for medicinal purposes as
a tea in China. Synonyms in common use are Callista crystallina
(Rchb. f.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium crystallinum var. hainanense
S.J.Cheng & C.Z.Tang 1986
Dendrobium devonianum Paxton 1840 SECTION Dendrobium is
found in the Chinese Himalayas, Assam, eastern Himalayas, Bhutan, Myanmar,
Thailand, Laos, southern China and Vietnam. Growing as a warm-cool epiphyte
on tree trunks in montane forests at 500-2,000m, it is a medium sized
species with pendulous, cylindric, slender, slightly fleshy, sub-branched,
many noded stems carrying narrowly ovate-lanceolate, leathery, clasping
sheath base, long acuminate leaves. Blooming in late winter and spring,
the erect to spreading 30cm many flowered inflorescences have with long-lived,
fleshy, fragrant flowers that arise from the nodes near the apex of leafless
to meter-long canes. The flowers are variable especially in the amount
and length of hairs on the petals and lip. Dendrobium devonianum var.
rhodoneurum is a predominantly pink coloured form. This species has
also been used in Chinese herbal medicine. Its common name is Devon's
Dendrobium named after the 1800's English Count and Orchid enthusiast.
In Thailand, it is known as Miang - Sai man pra in and Ueang sai pha kang,
while in China, it is known as Chi Ban Shi Hu
Synonyms in common use are Callista devoniana (Paxton) Kuntze 1891;
Callista moulmeinensis (Parish ex Hook. f.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium
brevifolium Hort. ex Lindley 1859; Dendrobium devonianum var.
candidulum Rchb.f. 1876; Dendrobium devonianum var. elliottianum
Rchb.f. 1876; Dendrobium devonianum var. rhodoneurum Rchb.f.
1868 ; Dendrobium moulmeinense Parish ex Hook. f. 1890; Dendrobium
pictum Griff. ex Lindl. 1859; Dendrobium pulchellum Lindley
non Loddiges or Roxbury; Dendrobium pulchellum var. devonianum
Dendrobium dixanthum Rchb. f. 1865 SECTION Holochrysa is
found in Myanmar, Thailand and Laos as medium to large sized, warm growing
epiphyte in the tops of deciduous forests tall trees at about 700m. In
Myanmar, the species is often found with Dendrobium albosanguineum.
It has erect to pendant, terete stems carrying 4, ligulate to lanceolate,
sub-erect, acute or acuminate leaves. Blooming in winter and spring, flowers
are borne on pendant racemes emerging from the nodes, at and near the
apex of mature pseudobulbs carrying thin textured flowers. It was moved
from SECTION Dendrobium
to SECTION Holochrysa following DNA analysis.
Its common name, the Twice Yellow Dendrobium refers to the flower
In Thailand, it is known as Ueang khamplu - Ueang thian
- Ueang kham pawn - Ueang phai - Ueang baiphai,
and in China as Huang Hua Shi Hu. The synonym in common use is Callista
dixantha (Rchb. f.) Kuntze 1891
Dendrobium falconeri Hook. f. 1856 SECTION Dendrobium comes
from Assam India, Chinese Himalayas, eastern Himalayas, Bhutan, Myanmar,
Thailand and Taiwan where it grows as a large sized, cool to warm growing
epiphyte on lightly shaded branches and tree trunks in dense forests,
and as a lithophyte on rocks along valleys at 800-1,900m. This species
has pendant, branching, knotty, soft, slender stems that often have roots
at the nodes, and over time, grows into a large, tangled mass of plant
material. Few, linear, grass-like leaves that are deciduous appear at
the apex of new growths. Flowering in spring, very short, single flowered
inflorescences arise along the old and new canes carrying a single, fragrant
flower that lasts about 2 weeks. Its common name is Falconer's Dendrobium
named after the 1800's English Director of Calcutta Botanical Gardens.
In Thailand, it is known as Sai wisut - Rot rueang saeng - Ueang mieng,
and in China as Chuan Zhu Shi Hu
The photos illustrate the growth habit of this species. The in-situ photo
is from HERE,
and the photo below is from
This species has a reputation for being difficult to sustain in cultivation
for any extended period of time.
Synonyms in common use are Callista falconeri (Hook.) Kuntze 1891;
Dendrobium erythroglossum Hayata 1914; Dendrobium falconeri
albidulum Rchb.f. 1876; Dendrobium falconeri var. albidulum
(Rchb.f.) B.S.Williams 1894; Dendrobium falconeri var. giganteum
B.S.Williams 1885; Dendrobium falconeri var. robustum Rchb.f.
1879; Dendrobium falconeri var. senapatianum C.Deori, Gogoi
& A.A.Mao 2010
Dendrobium fimbriatum Hooker 1823 SECTION Holochrysa is
from Hainan and southeastern China, western Himalayas, Bangladesh, eastern
Himalayas, Assam India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia,
Laos and Vietnam where is grows as a large-sized, warm to cold growing
epiphyte, lithophyte or terrestrial in humid, mossy mixed and coniferous
forests at 800-2,400m. This species has long, erect, arching or pendulous,
light-yellow green when aged, to 120 cm long canes that are thickest in
the middle and have many oblong to lanceolate, acute or acuminate, deciduous
leaves. While predominantly flowering in spring, this species can flower
at any time of the year on pendant, axillary, many flowered racemes arising
from the nodes near the apex of leafless and mature canes. The flowers
have an unpleasant sour fragrance.
This species too was moved from SECTION Dendrobium to SECTION Holochrysa
following DNA analysis. Its common name is the Fringe-Lipped Dendrobium.
In Thailand, it is known as - Waew mayura - Ueang kham noi - Ueang kham
foi - Ueang kham ta dam, and in China as Liu SU Shi Hu.
This species has been used in Asian medicine. The form
Dendrobium fimbriatum var. occulatum which has a distinct
'eye' or occula or maroon-blotched floral labellum is the most common
in cultivation with the pure yellow-flowered form shown above less
Synonyms in common use are Callista fimbriata (Hook.) Kuntze 1891;
Callista normalis (Falc.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium normale
Falc. 1839; Dendrobium paxtonii Paxt. 1839
Dendrobium findlayanum Par. & Rchb.f 1874 SECTION Dendrobium
is found in the Chinese Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos where it
grows as a medium to large sized, cool growing epiphyte in at altitudes
of 1,000-1,700m in mixed forests. The 50cm sulcate canes are bilaterally
compressed with swollen nodes (up to 7 per cane) coloured green before
becoming yellow with age carrying deciduous, narrowly elliptic or lanceolate,
acute, bright green leaves.
Blooming in winter and spring takes place on very short,
axillary, racemose inflorescences that arise from the nodes near the apex
of mature leafless canes with few, long-lasting, color-variable, fragrant
flowers. An albinistic colour variant is known and the form Dendrobium
findlayanum var. occulatum has two distinct maroon 'eyes' or
occula in the base of the labellum. Its common name is Findlay's Dendrobium
after an 1800's English collector in Borneo. In Thailand, it is known
as Phuang yok, and in China as Bang Jie Shi Hu
photo to the left clearly shows the very
distinctive sulcate pseudobulbs, while the photo below shows the form
Dendrobium findlayanum var. occulatum
Synonyms in common use are Callista findlayana (Parish & Rchb.
f.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium findleyanum Par. & Rchb.f 1874
friedericksianum Rchb.f 1887 SECTION Dendrobium is found in
Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia where it grows as an epiphyte in the canopy
of low elevation primary and secondary forest trees. It is a hot to cool
growing, medium sized, epiphyte with sub erect, basally slender and cylindrical
to clavate above, light yellow stems carrying in the apical third, several
deciduous leaves. Blooming in spring, 2-4 waxy, long-lived flowers are
borne on short, racemose inflorescences. Its common name is Friederick's
Dendrobium. In Thailand it is known as Lueang chantabun.
Dendrobium friedericksianum var. occulatum Seidenfaden &
Smitinand 1959 is a variety with red blotches on either side of the base
of the lip. This form is more commonly seen in collections.
Dendrobium gibsonii Paxton 1838 SECTION Holochrysa is found
in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, China and Vietnam at 650-1,650m
as a large sized, warm to cool growing epiphyte or lithophyte on mossy
limestone cliffs. It has centrally swollen, tapering towards the apex,
ribbed stems carrying 6 to 10, ovate to lanceolate, acute, deciduous leaves.
Flowering in spring and summer on a slightly fractiflex, the nodding to
pendulous, 15- 20 cm, loosely 6 to 15 flowered inflorescence arises on
older leafless canes.
While normally epiphytic, in deforested areas it can
be found growing lithophytically. This species was moved from SECTION
Dendrobium to SECTION Holochrysa following DNA analysis.
This species and Dendrobium chrysanthum are similar but Dendrobium
gibsonii has deciduous leaves, narrower petals, sepals that are much
more spreading and the lip opening is rounder.
Synonyms in use are Callista binocularis (Rchb.f.) Kuntze 1891;
Callista gibsonii (Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium binoculare
Rchb.f. 1869; Dendrobium fuscatum Lindl. 1859; Stachyobium
aureum Rchb.f. 1869
Its common name is Gibson's Dendrobium named after an 1800's English
Orchid Collector. In China, it is known as Qu Zhou Shi Hu and in Thailand
as Ueang Kham Ta
Dendrobium heterocarpum Wall. ex Lindl. 1830 SECTION Dendrobium
can be found in the Chinese Himalayas, Assam, eastern Himalayas, Nepal,
Bhutan, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Borneo, Java,
Lesser Sunda Islands, Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines. Growing in
evergreen lowland forests and primary montane forests as a small to very
large epiphyte at 100-1,800m this species has fusiform or sub cylindrical,
erect or pendulous, many noded, stems that yellow with age. Tubular basal
sheaths carrying deciduous, ligulate or oblong-lanceolate, acute to obtuse
leaves. Blooming in winter through spring and summer, the flowers are
borne on lateral, short, few to several, long-lived, both fragrant and
not fragrant flowered inflorescences that arise from the nodes on 2 to
3 year old leafless canes.
Gary Yong Gee writing in the Orchid Species Bulletin in September 2011
says the Dendrobium heterocarpum has long-lived flowers that are
sweetly fragrant, however some of the plants from the Philippines are
not perfumed. Howard Wood (2006) recognises Dendrobium rhombeum
Lindl., the Philippine variant, as distinct. Jim Cootes (2001) says that
there are two forms found in the Philippines. One form grows erect to
about 50 cm long and the flowers have a hairy lip with a lot of brown
markings. The other is semi-pendulous with stems up to 2 m long, which
have flowers that have a differently shaped, smooth lip. There seem to
be two distinct species involved in the Philippines. Jim Comber (1990)
says that plants in the Philippines are quite distinct from those found
in Thailand whilst those from Borneo have much smaller flowers than either
Javanese or Thai plants.
Its common name is The Different Fruit Dendrobium.
In Thailand, it is known as Ueang si tan, and in China, as Jian Dao Chun
Shi Hu. Synonyms in common use are Callista aurea [Lindl.] Kuntze
1891; Callista heterocarpa (Wall. ex Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium
atractodes Ridl. 1885; Dendrobium aureum Lindl. 1830; Dendrobium
aureum var. pallidum Lindl. 1839; Dendrobium heterocarpum
var. henshalii Hook. 1857; Dendrobium minahassae Kraenzlin
1910; Dendrobium rhombeum Lindley 1843;
Dendrobium lituiflorum Lindley 1856 SECTION
Dendrobium is found in the Chinese
Assam, Bangladesh, eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam
in broadleaved forests on tree trunks at 300m. Growing epiphytically,
this species has clustered, slender, reed-like, pendulous, 11 to 15 noded,
covered in sheaths, basally swollen stems carrying deciduous, fleshy,
linear-lanceolate, acute leaves. Blooming in spring through autumn, one-five
longlasting, fragrant flowers are borne on short scapes that arise from
nodes along dormant canes. This species is deciduous in the dry, cooler
months of the year.
Albinistic and pure alba forms exist, but are less
common in collections.
This species common name is The Bent-Raceme Dendrobium.
In Thailand, it is known as Ueang sai muang - Ueang khrang, and in China
as La Ba Chun Shi Hu. Synonyms in common use are Callista lituiflora
(Lindl.) Kuntze 1891 and Dendrobium hanburyanum Rchb.f 1856
Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe 1887 SECTION Dendrobium
from Laos, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong is a miniature to small sized,
cool growing epiphyte, lithophyte or terrestrial. Its habitat is humid,
mossy, mixed and coniferous forests at 1,000 - 1,500m. It has tufted,
pendant, sub terete, striated, several noded, white sheathed stems carrying
alternate, fleshy, oblong, acute leaves and experiences a dry cooler winter
and a warmer wet spring and summer. Flowering
in Spring, the long-lasting, fragrant flowers arise on short single flowered
inflorescences at the nodes of leafless canes. Some forms with variegated
foliage have been discovered and are now being propagated for commercial
sale. It appears that this species was well known in cultivation for many
years before its natural occurrence habitat was discovered and it was
described and identified. It is easily propagated from the stem growths.
Its common name is Loddiges' Dendrobium after
an English botanist of the 1800's. In China, it is known as Mei Hua Shi
Synonyms in common use are Callista loddigesii (Rolfe) Kuntze 1891;
Dendrobium pulchellum Loddiges not Roxb. 1933; Dendrobium seidelianum
Dendrobium moniliforme (L.) Sw. 1799 SECTION Dendrobium
is found in China, Western Himalayas, Nepal, Eastern Himalayas; Assam,
Myanmar, Vietnam, Korea, Ryukyus Islands and Taiwan at 800-3,000m. It
can be a small to large sized, cold to warm epiphyte growing in broadleaf
forests or as a lithophyte on rocks. It can have either erect or pendant
stems, that are tufted, terete, many noded, slightly wider in the middle,
purplish green in colour and covered with greyish sheaths. These canes
yellow with age, and have narrowly lanceolate, deciduous, obtuse leaves.
Flowering takes place from winter to the end of summer on a very short,
2 flowered inflorescences that arise from the nodes of old leafless canes.
This species is deciduous, and the flowers are pleasantly fragrant, and
range from white through pale rose pink and lemon in colour.
Variegated foliage forms are known and
are increasingly being bred for the commercial market including a tricoloured
form from Japan where the miniature and variegated forms are desired.
Many varietal forms are marketed with different leaf variegation, flower
colour, and flower shapes (similar to Neofinetia falcata). Often,
these forms are grown and exhibited for their foliage rather than their
This species common name is the Necklace-Shaped Dendrobium;
in China it is known as Xi Jing Shi Hu
There are many synonyms in commo use; Callista candida (Wall. ex
Lindl.) Kuntze 1891; Callista japonica Kuntze 1891; Callista
moniliformis (L.) Kuntze 1891; Dendrobium castum Bateman 1868;
Dendrobium crispulum Kimura & Migo 1936; Dendrobium heishanense
Hayata 1914; Dendrobium japonicum Lindley 1830; Dendrobium
kosepangii C.L.Tso 1933; Dendrobium monile[Thunb.]Kraenzl 1910;
Dendrobium moniliforme var. malipoense L.J.Chen & Z.J.Liu,
J. Wuhan 2008; Dendrobium nienkui Tso 1933; Dendrobium taiwanianum
S.S.Ying 1978; Dendrobium yunnanense Finet 1907; Dendrobium
zonatum Rolfe 1903; Epidendrum monile Thunberg 1799; Epidendrum
moniliferum Panzer 1783; *Epidendrum moniliforme Linn. 1753;
Limodorum monile (Thunb.) Thunb. 1794; Onychium japonicum
Bl. 1848; Ormostema albiflora Raf. 1836
Dendrobium moschatum Sw. 1805 SECTION Holochrysa
occurs through the Western and Eastern Himalayas, Assam, Bangladesh,
India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar,
Hainan China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam as an epiphyte in open forests
on tree trunks at 300-900m. It is large, hot to warm growing epiphyte
with erect, arching or pendulous, terete, canes that turn brown with age.
The narrowly elliptic to oblong-ovate, leathery, acute leaves are carried
in the apical half. Flowering occurs in late spring and early summer on
an axillary, pendulous, 20 cm, few to several flowered racemes with musk
scented flowers that last about a week from or near the apex of a leafless
cane. This species is the type species for SECTION Holochrysa.
This species has an unusual pouch-shaped labellum as
shown in the close-up photo. Flower colour is highly variable ranging
from lemon yellow to intense/orange through to dusky pink forms.
Its common name is the Musky Smelling Dendrobium. In Thailand,
it is known as Leueang nok khamin - Ueang mawn khai - Ueang champa ; while
in China it is known as China Shao Chun Shi Hu.
Synonyms in common use include Callista calceola (Carey ex Hook.)
Kuntze 1891; Callista moschata Kuntze 1891; Cymbidium moschatum
Willd. 1805; Dendrobium calceolaria Carey ex Hook. 1825; Dendrobium
cupreum Herb. ex Lindl. 1835; Dendrobium moschatum Wall. ex
D.Don 1825; Dendrobium moschatum var. unguipetalum I.Barua
2001; Epidendrum moschatum Buch.-Ham. 1800; Thicuania moschata
(Sw.) Raf. 1836
Dendrobium nobile Lindley 1830 SECTION Dendrobium is a medium
sized species found in the Chinese and Eastern Himalayas, Assam, India,
Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. It is a cool
to hot growing terrestrial or lithophytic species in broadleaf, evergreen,
lowland forests and primary montane forests, and
often on mossy limestone rocks at 200 -2,000m. With erect, clustered,
compressed, grooved with age, yellowish stems that carry distichous, coriaceous,
strap shaped or oblong, persistent leaves, this species flowers in winter
and spring but can flower throughout the years given appropriate conditions.
Short, 2 to 4 flowered racemes bear fragrant, waxy, sometimes heavy-textured,
long-lived, highly variable flowers that arise at the upper nodes of leafed
and leafless canes.
This species is highly variable as to colour and flower
shape, with some line-bred cultivars having much more rounded and filled
in flowers. Several varietal forms are recognised. It has been widely
used in hybridising in Japan and Hawaii, and many of the so called soft-cane
or nobile hybrids with have Dendrobium nobile in their breeding.
Care needs to be taken in this regard as many are sold as Dendrobium
nobile, but in fact are hybrids.
Contd next month