Dendrobium lancifolium

Dendrobium lancifolium A.Rich., in D'Urv., Voy. Astrol., Bot. (1834) 20.

Type: Freycinet s.n. (Moluccas, Buru) (holo P).

Rhizome short. Stems crowded, erect, slender, branching, terete, 50-150 cm by 2-5 mm, many-leaved in upper half. Leaf sheaths glabrous. Leaves patent, narrowly linear-lanceolate, widest near the base, 3.5-10 by 0.6-1.4 cm, papyraceous, apex acute. Inflorescences arising laterally from the upper half of the stem (both when leafy and defoliated) as well as terminally, racemose, patent, c. 3 cm long, peduncle 1-1.5 cm long, 1-2(rarely up to 4)-flowered. Floral bracts very small. Pedicel with ovary c. 2.5 cm long. Flowers resupinated, c. 3.5 cm long, widely opening. Dorsal sepal ovate-oblong, 1.7 cm by 9 mm, subacute. Lateral sepals obliquely oblong, free part 1.8 cm by 10 mm, subacute; mentum making an angle of c. 70 degrees with the ovary, cylindrical, 1.8 cm long, obtuse, apical 4 mm closed. Petals elliptic-oblong, 1.7 cm by 7 mm, obtuse. Lip 3-lobed in apical third, clawed, 3 by 1.4 cm, near the base with a subpatent, backwards projecting V-shaped callus; lateral lobes small, margins erose, apex broadly rounded; midlobe semiorbicular to rectangular-orbicular, margins crispate-undulate, apex rounded-truncate. Column 0.3 cm long, stelidia obtuse; column-foot 1.8 cm long. Fruit fusiform, long pedicellate, 2.5-3 by 0.5 cm.

Colours: Sepals whitish tinged magenta-purple. Petals light magenta-purple, often with darker margins. Lip whitish, the midlobe light magenta-purple, often with darker margins, inside below the midlobe with deep magenta-purple blotches or spots.

Habitat: Terrestrial in open shrubby vegetation and low open forest, often on limestone or coral, usually in rather exposed positions, also in epiphytic in montane forest. Locally very common. Altitude 0 to 600 (-1900) m.

Flowering time in the wild: Throughout the year.

Distribution: Sulawesi, Moluccas, New Guinea.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Manokwari and Biak Numfor Regencies; Waigeo Island).

Notes: Dendrobium lancifolium is one of the few terrestrial species of Dendrobium in the lowlands. It is easily recognised by the magenta-purple flowers with a long spur-like mentum at a rather large angle to the ovary. In New Guinea it is only found in the extreme west (Waigeo and Biak islands, Vogelkop Peninsula), but there it is quite common in some areas.

Cultivation: Warm growing terrestrial, requires light position and watering throughout the year.