Dendrobium pseudopeloricum

Dendrobium pseudopeloricum J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 14 (1929) 437, pl. 69, 84.

Type: Lam 1835 (holo BO).

Rhizome elongated, creeping, leafy at first, internodes 0.5-1.2 cm long; roots as thick as the rhizome, arising singly. Stems 1.3-2 cm apart, ascending, slender-fusiform, 1.2-1.5 cm by 2-2.4 mm, 5-6-leaved, with 5-6 internodes. Leaf sheaths with prominent veines. Leaves recurved, not articulated with the sheaths, lanceolate-triangular, 0.83 by 0.3 cm, rigidly coriaceous, base almost amplexicaul, apex with an acute subulate apicule. Inflorescences lateral from the stems, 1-flowered, erect, appressed to the stem; peduncle 0.35 cm long. Floral bract broadly ovate, 0.45 cm long, apex acuminate. Pedicel and ovary 0.7 cm long, curved. Flower c. 1.2 cm long. Dorsal sepal 0.62 cm by 3.4 mm; mentum subcylindrical, 0.5 cm long. Petals oblong, shaped like a lip, 0.55 cm by 2 mm, apex cucullate-incurved, lacinulate. Lip slightly surpassing the column, when flattened 1 by 0.53 cm, claw for c. 0.38 cm adnate to the column-foot, apex cucullate, biplicate, minutely narrowly serrulate. Column 0.37 cm long; column-foot 0.53 cm long, the apical 2/3 covered with a membrane.
(after Smith, 1929).

Colours: Flower at the base (mentum) pale blue, upwards pale dirty greenish, apices pale dirty yellow with a little blue; ovary pale blue. Roots light brown, leaves dark green above, light green below, with the margin, midrib beneath, and sheath dark violet.

Habitat: Epiphyte in mossy montane forest. Altitude 2600 m.

Flowering time in the wild: October.

Distribution: New Guinea (endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Jaya Wijaya Regency); Papua New Guinea (Western Highlands Province).

Notes: For its sheer peculiarity Dendrobium pseudopeloricum is one of the most remarkable members of the genus. It is one of the very few species of Dendrobium in which the leaves are not articulated with the sheaths, which means that dead leaves do not fall off, but wither on the stem. The only other species we are aware of that displays this character is the very different Dendrobium dichaeoides. Even more peculiar are the petals, which are shaped like a smaller version of the lip (hence then name pseudopeloricum), yet the flowers are not peloric. To match, the colours are also quite strange. In all, a most distinctive little orchid.

Cultivation: Cool growing epiphyte, keep in shade.