Dendrobium papilioniferum J.J.Sm., Orchid. Ambon (1905) 42.
Type: J.J. Smith s.n. (Ambon, Asiloeloe to Larike) (holo BO).
Stems elongated, thin at the base, then dilated into a fusiform, c. 8-angled pseudobulb, which is covered by scale-leaves only, upper part slender, leafy, the top part only covered with rudimentary scale-leaves, to more than 110 cm long, pseudobulb 15 by 1.25 cm, upper part c. 43 mm wide, internodes 2.5-3.5 cm long. Leaves patent, lanceolate, 10 by 2.6 cm, thick coriaceous, base amplexicaul, apex obtuse, shortly and more or less unequally bilobulate, shortly mucronate. Inflorescences laterally from leafless top part of the stems. Pedicel 2.1 cm long; ovary 0.3 cm long. Flowers c. 4 cm across, fragrant, lasting a few days. Dorsal sepal 2.85 cm by 10 mm. Lateral sepals 2.7 cm by 18.5 mm, mentum c. 1.4 cm long. Lip 3-lobed, when flattened 3.6 by 2.6 cm; midlobe 1.1 by 1.3 cm. Column 0.4 cm long; column-foot 1.4 cm long, near the apex with a large callus.
(after Smith, 1905).
Colours: Sepals and petals white, tinged violet-red at the apex, lip white, the lateral lobes inside with violet-red veins, the midlobe in the centre violet-red, keels yellow.
Habitat: Epiphyte on low trees on shrubs in coastal vegetation.
Flowering time in the wild: Not known.
Distribution: Moluccas (Ambon, Kei Islands), New Guinea.
Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Misool Island).
Notes: Dendrobium papilioniferum is similar to the familiar Dendrobium crumenatum Sw. Next to Dendrobium sampangii it is the only New Guinea member of section Crumenata that does not have laterally flattened leaves. Unlike D. sampangii, D. papilioniferum has quite showy flowers.
Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, requires much light.