Dendrobium eximium

Dendrobium eximium Schltr., in K.Schum. & Lauterb., Nachtr. Fl. Deutsch. Schutzgeb. Südsee (1905) 162; Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 497; 21 (1923) t. 169, fig. 630.

Type: Schlechter 14316 (holo B, lost; iso AMES, BM, K, P).

An epiphytic herb to 45 cm tall. Pseudobulbs clavate or slender clavate, up to 37 by 0.8-1.5 cm, drying orange-yellow, 5-noded below leaves, 2-leaved at apex. Leaves coriaceous, spreading, oblong-elliptic, obtuse or subacute, up to 19 by 5.5 cm, shortly petiolate. Inflorescence erect, apical, few to many flowered, about 15 cm long; peduncle bearing three papery sheaths; bracts elliptic, acute, cucullate, up to 2.2 by 0.6 cm. Flowers showy, large; ovary, pedicel and outer surfaces of sepals setose; ovary and pedicel 3-3.5 cm long. Dorsal sepal lanceolate, acuminate, 4 by 1 cm; lateral sepals falcate, obliquely lanceolate, acuminate, 3.3-3.8 by 12 cm; mentum incurved, subconical, 1-1.2 cm long. Petals broadly spathulate, apiculate, 4-4.6 by 3-3.2 cm. Lip 3-lobed, recurved, 2.5 by 3 cm when spread; side-lobes erect-incurved over column, oblong, truncate; midlobe oblong, acuminate, conduplicate; callus prominent, 3-ridged, highest at apex, free for apical 3-4 mm. Column short, 4 mm long, with an upcurved hook on each side at apex; foot 1-1.2 cm long.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Colours: Flowers white, marked with purple or mauve lines on side-lobe of lip.

Habitat: Epiphyte in montane forest. Altitude 600 to 700 m.

Flowering time in the wild: April, September.

Distribution: New Guinea.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (probably widespread); Papua New Guinea (Torricelli Mountains).

Map: EXIMIMAP.JPG [Dendrobium eximium Schltr., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 38 (1983) 242, map 3.]

Notes: Dendrobium eximium has the largest flowers of all the setose species of section Latouria. In flower colour and petal shape it closely approaches Dendrobium forbesii but differs in its broader petals, its sepals which are much more hairy on their outer surfaces and its lateral sepals which lack lamellate keels on their mid veins. The lip also differs in having broader side-lobes and a smaller apiculate midlobe. The mentum is reminiscent of that of Dendrobium finisterrae.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Cultivation: Intermediate growing epiphyte.