Dendrobium leporinum

Dendrobium leporinum J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 8, 1 (1909) 68, pl. 24, 75.

Type: Horst cult. s.n. (New Guinea, West) (holo BO, iso K, L, probable, s.n.).

An epiphytic herb. Stems 30-85 cm long, 0.7-1 cm diam., cane-like, obtusely 4-angled, tapering above, 3-5 cm apart on creeping rhizome. Leaves lanceolate to oblong-ovate, obtusely bidentate at apex, 5.5-7.5 by 1.4-4 cm, articulated to tubular sheaths 3-3.5 cm long. Inflorescences sub-erect, 13-19 cm long, 3-6-flowered; peduncle 10 cm long; bracts tubular, obtuse, 3-5 mm long. Flowers large, very showy, 5.5-6.2 cm tall, 3.6 cm wide; pedicel and ovary 2-2.2 cm long, emerging 9-12 mm above axil of bract. Dorsal sepal obliquely revolute, lanceolate-triangular, acute, apiculate, c. 2.7 by 1 cm; lateral sepals recurved, falcate, obliquely triangular-lanceolate, acuminate, 24-35 by 1-1.4 cm; mentum at acute angle to ovary, narrowly conical, straight, decurved slightly at apex, 1.2-1.5 cm long. Petals recurved-suberect, linear, acute, 3.5-4 by 0.2-0.3 cm, shiny, once to three-times twisted. Lip porrect, 3-lobed, 2.9-3 by 2-2.2 cm; side lobes oblong, rounded in front; midlobe ovate-cordate, apiculate, 1.5-1.6 by 1.6-1.7 cm; callus of 5 fleshy keels all dilated slightly towards apex, the central one longest to middle of midlobe. Column 8-9.5 mm long.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Stems shiny yellow-green. Leaves shiny green. Sepals white slightly violet-suffused; petals violet; lip side lobes greenish, dark violet- or purple-veined, midlobe greenish-white, veined with purple or violet.

Habitat: Not known.

Distribution: Moluccas, (Halmahera) and N. New Guinea.

Dendrobium leporinum is closely allied to Dendrobium stratiotes from which it can be distinguished by its distinctive flower colour and shorter floral segments. Dendrobium stratiotes is itself a very variable species particularly in flower size and it may well be that, on study of further material, Dendrobium leporinum cannot be maintained as distinct at specific rank. Smith (1935) himself later suggested that Dendrobium leporinum might prove to be merely a variety of Dendrobium stratiotes.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte.