Dendrobium engae

Dendrobium engae T.M.Reeve, Orchadian 6 (1979) 124, fig.

Type: Reeve 238 (holo LAE; iso K, L); para: NGF (Fiest for Womersly) 43904 (L, LAE); Reeve 180 (LAE).

A robust epiphytic herb. Pseudobulbs fusiform or subclavate, about 10-noded, up to 50 by 1.9-3.3 cm, yellow, 3-5-leaved at apex. Leaves spreading or suberect, coriaceous, oblong or oblong-elliptic, rounded and emarginate at apex, 5.5-21 by 2.5-6 cm. Inflorescence terminal, erect, up to 25 cm long, 3-15-flowered; bracts ovate, acuminate, about 1.5 cm long. Flowers attractive, large. Dorsal sepal ovate, acute, 4-4.5 by 1.7 cm; lateral sepals obliquely ovate, acute or acuminate, 3.8-4.1 by 1.6 cm, strongly keeled on outer surface; mentum conical, 1 cm long. Petals elliptic-spathulate, acute, 3.7-4.5 by 1.6-1.7 cm. Lip recurved, strongly 3-lobed, 3.8-4.5 by 3.5-3.8 cm; side-lobes erect, subquadrate; midlobe ovate to reniform, acute; callus 3-ridged in front with two short basal lobes. Column short, 6 mm long; foot 1 cm long.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Colours: Flowers fragrant; sepals creamy white; petals greenish white, lip greenish yellow or yellow, heavily spotted maroon on midlobe and veined maroon on side-lobes; callus white.

Habitat: Epiphytic on Nothofagus in montane forest. Altitude 2000-2700 m.

Flowering time in the wild: February, October, December.

Distribution: New Guinea.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea (Enga, Eastern & Western Highlands, Simbu, Morobe and Oro Provinces).

Map: ENGAEMAP.JPG [Dendrobium engae T.M.Reeve, distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 38 (1983) 250, map 4, with new records added.]

Notes: This distinctive species, although only recently described, is apparently widespread in Highland Papua New Guinea. Within that area, it does have a rather limited habitat preference being almost entirely restricted to the larger branches of Nothofagus trees growing in montane forest on ridges over 2000 m.
It may be readily identified by its stout yellow fusiform pseudobulbs, coriaceous glossy dark green oblong leaves and large fleshy flowers with a distinctive sweet scent.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Cultivation: Cool growing epiphyte.