Den. Sec. Phalaenanthe


Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Dendrobiinae

This relatively small group of sympodial, mostly epiphytic, tropical orchids contains several species of great beauty and horticultural importance. Den. phalaenopsis, the Cooktown Orchid, occurs only in the south-eastern portion of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, but for many years this name has been erroneously applied to an Indonesian species, now correctly known as Den. striaenopsis. Both Den. phalaenopsis and Den. striaenopsis have been widely cultivated, and in combination with Den. bigibbum, another north Queensland native, have figured prominently in the breeding of "hardcane" Dendrobium hybrids, much favoured by orchid growers. In sect. Phalaenanthe, pseudobulbs may be tall (up to 80 cm.) and slender (e.g. Den. bigibbum), or short and stout (e.g. Den. lithicola), with up to 6 apical and subapical leaves. The erect, arching inflorescences arise from nodes near the top of the pseudobulbs, and carry up to a dozen large, showy, pansy-shaped flowers, in tones of white, pink and purple. Because of their popularity in cultivation, populations of these species have been severely depleted in some areas Commonly grown species include Den. bigibbum, Den. lithicola, Den. phalaenopsis, Den. striaenopsis and Den. affine.

Number of species:

About 7


Northern Australia, New Guinea, Tanimbar Island, Indonesia. 

Dendrobium biggibum var. compactum - ©2009 Greg Allikas

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