Dendrobium bifalce

Dendrobium bifalce Lindl., London J. Bot. 2 (1843) 237.

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

An epiphytic herb. Pseudobulbs stout, somewhat dilated towards apex, 11-30 by 0.8-1.2 cm, yellow, 5-7-noded below leaves, 2-4-leaved at apex. Leaves coriaceous, suberect, elliptic-oblong, obtuse, up to 16 by 3.5-6 cm. Inflorescence erect, emerging from just beneath leaf-bases, 25-40 cm long, distantly few- to many-flowered; peduncle terete, stout, very much longer than rachis; bracts fleshy, triangular-ovate, apiculate, 2-3 mm long. Flowers closely spaced. Dorsal sepal oblong-ovate, obtuse, 7 by 4 mm; lateral sepals spreading obliquely triangular, obtuse, 9 by 9.8 mm; mentum conical, 7 mm long. Petals oblong, obtuse, 7 by 3 mm. Lip reflexed, clawed at base, 3-lobed, 1-1.2 by 1-1.2 cm when spread; side-lobes erect, linear-tapering, somewhat falcate, acute; midlobe very much larger than side-lobes, transversely oblong or reniform, often spreading widely; callus of 3 irregular ridges. Column 2 mm long; foot 7 mm long.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Colours: Flowers yellow or yellow green, marked with maroon; lip with a yellow to brownish midlobe and a white callus.

Habitat: Epiphyte in coastal or riverine forests, also in plantations and on solitary trees and coconut palms. Altitude 0 to 800 m.

Flowering time in the wild: Throughout the year, with a peak at the end of the rainy season (fide O'Byrne); the flowers last about 10 days.

Distribution: Timor, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands and Australia.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua and Papua New Guinea, widespread, especially in seasonally dry areas.

Map: BIFALMAP.JPG [Dendrobium bifalce Lindl., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 38 (1983) 294, map 9, with new records added.]

Notes: Dendrobium bifalce is perhaps the most common lowland orchid in New Guinea. Its most distinctive features are its long stout peduncle and short rachis, closely spaced bracts, the narrow acute side-lobes of the lip which are much smaller than the broad often emarginate deflexed midlobe and the white rugulose callus.
(largely after Cribb, 1983).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, prefers light position.