Section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium section Herpetophytum Schltr.,
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 451 ('Herpethophytum').

Rhizome short to elongated, roots thin. Stems numerous, elongated and slender, not fleshy, many-leaved, branching. Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, usually short and linear, sometimes quite fleshy, long-lived. Inflorescences lateral from the stem, very short, 1-flowered. Flowers very small, not resupinate, ephemeral, white, usually with purplish markings on the lip, opening synchronously. Mentum conspicuous, spur-like. Lateral sepals usually coherent. Lip not mobile.

New Guinea, endemic. About 15 species.

Epiphytes in lowland and (mainly) montane forest.

Members of this section are small shrubby plants that at flowering time carry tiny solitary white flowers which last only a single day. Herpetophytum is somewhat similar to sect. Biloba in that the flowers are not resupinated, but it is clearly distinct in several characters, for example in the branching stems, thin roots, ephemeral flowers with spur-like mentum, etc. Their horticultural value is even less than that of sect. Biloba.