Dendrobium nothofagicola

Dendrobium nothofagicola T.M.Reeve, Orchadian 7 (1982) 134, fig. 5.

Type: Reeve (leg. Ken) 551 (holo LAE, iso E, K, NSW).

A creeping epiphytic herb, usually growing downwards. Roots thick, 2-4 mm diameter. Rhizomes usually distinct, prostrate, up to 4 by 0.4 cm. Pseudobulbs spherical to obovoid or clavate, 0.8-6.5 by 0.6-2.4 cm, rugose, when young covered with white scarious sheaths, 1-leaved. Leaves shortly petiolate, elliptic, 1.6-10.5 by 1-4 cm, obtuse, sometimes subacute, very thick and leathery with 15-21 veins; sheath highly reduced. Inflorescences terminal, on both leafy and leafless pseudobulbs, with 3-20 flowers in a loose raceme; peduncle 3-7 mm long; rachis 2-5 mm long. Bracts ovate, 2-5 by 1.5-3.5 mm, acute to acuminate. Ovary with pedicel orange, 11-17 mm long. Flowers 1.1-1.5 cm long, glabrous. Dorsal sepal broadly ovate, 0.5-0.7 cm by 4 mm, obtuse, slightly cucullate; lateral sepals 1.1-1.35 cm by 5-6 mm; mentum apex obtuse. Petals obliquely obovate, 0.5-0.65 cm by 4 mm, obtuse, slightly cucullate. Lip simple, spathulate, 1-1.3 cm by 7-8 mm (expanded), with prominent transverse ridge about 5 mm from the base, obtuse, infolded at the apex with the margins finely denticulate. Column typical of the section, 3 by 2.2 mm; column foot 7.8 mm long; anther c. 1.5 by 1.8 mm; pollinia c. 1.25 mm long.
(largely after Reeve, 1982).

Colours: Roots tipped orange. Pseudobulbs brown to reddish-brown (sometimes yellowish green). Leaves green and slightly tessellated on the upper surface and usually suffused purplish underneath. Flower yellow with orange mentum. Ovary with pedicel orange. Column and anther pale orange. Pollinia greyish.

Habitat: Epiphyte in Nothofagus forest. Altitude 1800 to 2800m.

Flowering time in the wild: April, June, September.

Distribution: New Guinea (endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea (Enga, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Simbu and Central Provinces).

Map: NOTHOMAP.JPG [Dendrobium nothofagicola T.M.Reeve, distribution map.]

Notes: Dendrobium nothofagicola is a small creeping plant which is quite easy to recognise, even when not in flower, by the single-leaved pseudobulbs and by the remarkably thick and slightly tessellated leaves. The inflorescences are lax and the flowers are orange and yellow. In all plants examined so far the root tips are orange; a characteristic noted on several epiphytic Dendrobium species which grow mainly on Nothofagus trees, e.g. Dendrobium andreemillarae, Dendrobium wentianum, and Dendrobium rupestre.
(largely after Reeve, 1982).

Cultivation: Cool growing epiphyte. Requires a light position and perfect drainage. Because of its downwards growing rhizome best attached to a slab of bark or tree fern.