Dendrobium antennatum

Dendrobium antennatum Lindl., London J. Bot. 2 (1843) 236.

Type: Hinds s.n. (New Guinea) (holo K).

An epiphytic herb. Stems clustered on a short rhizome, 15-75 cm tall, 1-1.5 cm diam., somewhat fusiform, usually dilated slightly and rhombic in cross section in the lower half. Leaves distichous, coriaceous to fleshy, oblong-lanceolate to ovate-elliptic, unequally bilobed at acute apex, 4-15 by 0.5-4 cm, articulated at base to sheaths 2-2.9 cm long. Inflorescences one to several, 15-35 cm long, 3-15-flowered; bracts tubular, 3-4 mm long. Flowers fragrant; pedicel and ovary 2.2-3.5 cm long, emerging 4-7 mm above the axil of the bract. Dorsal sepal oblong-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, 1.6-2.3 by 0.6-0.7 cm, recurved and often spirally twisted; lateral sepals oblong-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, 1.6-2.5 by 0.7 cm, recurved; mentum narrowly conical, 8-10 mm long. Petals linear, acute, 2.5-5 by 0.2-0.35 cm, once- to twice-twisted. Lip 3-lobed, 1.5-2.3 by 0.9-1.15 cm; side-lobes elliptic, rounded in front; midlobe circular to ovate, acute or apiculate, not recurved; callus of 5 longitudinal ridges, slightly dilated towards apex at base of midlobe. Column 5-6 mm long.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Leaf sheaths grey. Flowers white with green or yellow-green petals and a purple- or violet-veined lip.

Habitat: Epiphyte. From sea level to 1200 m.

Flowering time in the wild: June to April, peaking during the dry season (fide O'Byrne).

Distribution: New Guinea to Solomon Islands and Northeast Australia (Queensland).

Distribution in New Guinea: Widespread, mainly in coastal regions.

Map: ANTENMAP.JPG [Dendrobium antennatum Lindl., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 41 (1986) 629, map 2, with new records added.]

Notes: One of the most widely distributed and best known species of the section Spatulata in cultivation, Dendrobium antennatum can be readily recognised by its intermediate-sized white flowers with green or yellow-green erect petals and a purple-veined lip. It is most closely allied to the similarly coloured Dendrobium stratiotes which, however, has much larger flowers with longer petals and to Dendrobium strepsiceros whose flowers are of a similar size but green or greenish yellow and with somewhat spreading petals. Dendrobium d'albertisii is considered to be merely a shorter-petalled form of Dendrobium antennatum.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, prefers light position.