Dendrobium fuliginosum

Dendrobium fuliginosum (M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones) P.F.Hunt, Orchid Rev. 106 (1998) 62.

Basionym: Dockrillia fuliginosa.

Pendulous epiphytic herb forming sparse clumps to about 50 cm long. Aerial roots absent. Stems straight, 3-10 cm by 1-2 mm. Leaves linear-terete, 10-20 cm by 3-4 mm, pendulous. Racemes 3-5 cm long, wiry, arising singly from nodes at the leaf base, bearing 3-6 flowers. Pedicel 5-8 mm long, filiform. Ovary 1-2 mm long, hardly developed at anthesis. Flowers about 2 cm across, not opening widely, with a musty fragrance. Dorsal sepal linear oblong-elliptic, 18-20 mm by 4.5-5.5 mm, narrowed to the base, obliquely erect; margins incurved distally. Lateral sepals asymmetrically linear-oblong, 1.7-1.9 cm by 4.5-5.5 mm, falcate, divergent, margins incurved distally; apex subacute. Petals broadly elliptical-oblong, 1.8-2 cm by 6-7 mm, incurved over the column and lip; margins slightly irregular; apex subacute. Lip with a strong right-angled bend near the base, bringing the lateral lobes into close proximity with the column, then porrect, 1.5-1.7 cm by 6-7 mm when flattened; lateral lobes more or less semicircular, 3-4 by c. 1.5 mm, incurved; midlobe elliptic, 1.2-1.3 cm by 6-7 mm, thin-textured, with margins strongly sinuate, and apex subacute to subacuminate; callus of three narrow ridges, irregularly sinuate in the distal half, extending as faint lines nearly to the apex. Column 1.5-2.5 by 1.5-1.8 mm, porrect from the end of the ovary, glabrous; column foot 4-5 by c. 1 mm, at about 90 degrees to the column, shallowly channelled, glabrous. Stigma c. 1.8 by 1.5 mm, deeply sunken. Anther c. 2 by 2 mm, with a short, decurved, lacerate rostrum. Pollinia clavate, falcate, c. 1 mm long, waxy. Fruit not seen.
(after Clements & Jones, 1996).

Colours: Leaves dark green. Flowers dark purplish-black to sooty black, with some faint light mottling towards the apices of the tepals. Pollinia orange.

Habitat: Epiphyte on Casuarina trees in open montane swampland. Altitude not recorded, but certainly above 1200 m, judging from the type locality: Kosipe Swamp c. 27 km N of Woitape ('Kaisipi swamp c. 27 km N of Waitarpi').

Flowering time in the wild: Not known. Flowers of cultivated specimens last 5 to 10 days.

Distribution: New Guinea (endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea (Central Province).

Map: FULNOMAP.JPG [Dendrobium fuliginosum (M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones) P.F.Hunt, distribution map.]

Notes: This striking member of section Rhizobium is easily distinguished by the blackish flowers.

Cultivation: Intermediate growing epiphyte.