Dendrobium niveopurpureum

Dendrobium niveopurpureum J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 14 (1929) 415, pl. 64, 68.

Type: Bogor cult. (Schuller tot Peursum) s.n. (holo BO).

Stems elongated, strongly laterally compressed, subflexuose, to more than 50 cm by 5-7.5 mm, internodes 2-2.6 cm long. Leaf sheaths 0.85 cm wide, apex truncate. Leaves widely patent, oblong-ligulate, 11 by 2.7-3 cm, thin coriaceous, base amplexicaul, margins recurved, apex unequally subbilobulate. Inflorescences laterally from the stems, very short, 2-flowered, spathe to 1.1 cm long. Pedicel 0.75 cm long; ovary 0.7 cm long. Flowers c. 3 cm across, fleshy. Dorsal sepal 1.7 cm by 7.5 mm. Lateral sepals 1.9 cm by 9.3 mm, mentum c. 0.6 cm long. Petals 1.5 cm by 9 mm, apex obtuse, seemingly acute because of incurved upper margins. Lip 3-lobed, mobile, when flattened 0.9 by 1 cm; midlobe 0.38 by 0.7 cm. Column 0.6 cm long; column-foot 0.6 cm long, inside velvety-papillose.
(after Smith, 1929).

Colours: Flower pure white, lip dark purple, paler in the centre, at the base white, basal callosities with purple edges.

Habitat: Not known.

Flowering time in the wild: Not known.

Distribution: ?New Guinea (endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua?.

Notes: Dendrobium niveopurpureum is a pretty species with the snow-white sepals and petals contrasting 'really exquisitely' (Smith) with the purple of the lip. Described from a living specimen of unknown provenance.

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte?