Dendrobium schulleri

Dendrobium schulleri J.J.Sm., Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 2, 13 (1914) 63; Nova Guinea 12, 3 (1916) 323, t. 117, fig. 213.

Type: Schuller tot Peursum cult. s.n. (no loc.) (holo BO, iso L 3x).

An epiphytic herb. Stems cane-like, c. 80-100 cm long, 1.7-2.9 cm diam., swollen slightly at base and in basal third. Leaves fleshy, ovate-elliptic to oblong, obtuse and obliquely retuse at apex, c. 10-17 by 5.3-7.3 cm, articulated at base to a tubular sheath. Inflorescences c. 3, laxly 15-35-flowered, 42-60 cm long; peduncle c. 10-12 cm long; bracts oblong-triangular, acute, 5-8 mm long. Flowers large; pedicel and ovary 2.6-3.5 cm long. Dorsal sepal oblong, rounded or obtuse, c. 2.6 by 1 cm; lateral sepals obliquely oblong, obtuse, 2.2-2.7 by 0.6-0.9 cm; mentum narrowly incurved-conical, 7-9 mm long. Petals spathulate, rounded or obtuse, sometimes shortly apiculate, 3-3.6 by 0.9-1.6 cm. Lip 3-lobed, 3 by 2.1 cm; side-lobes elliptic, rounded or truncate in front; midlobe broadly ovate, obtuse, apiculate, c. 1.2 by 1.3 cm, callus of 5 ridges, the central three running onto basal half of midlobe, undulate and raised at apex. Column c. 7 mm long, obscurely denticulate at apex; anther cap notched on dorsal side.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Leaves shiny dark green above. Inflorescences green marked with dark brown. Flowers dull brownish yellow-green to yellow; lip with a greenish white callus, lilac-spotted in front, and brownish green veins on the side-lobes.

Habitat: Epiphyte on trees near the coast, growing in light shade.

Distribution: New Guinea.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Noemfoor Island).

Map: SCHULMAP.JPG [Dendrobium schulleri J.J.Sm., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 41 (1986) 650, map 5.]

Notes: This distinctive orchid is poorly represented in herbaria despite its apparent presence in many living orchid collections. It is probably related to Dendrobium lineale having three raised callus ridges on the base of the midlobe but it is more often confused with the widespread Dendrobium mirbelianum. However, it can be readily distinguished from both by its broad, obtuse, spathulate petals usually over 1 cm wide and by the ovate, apiculate midlobe of the lip. The lip is very broad and over 2 cm wide. The only localised collection (Ebert s.n. ) Cribb (1986) has seen was from Noemfoor Island, which lies off the NE coast of the Vogelkop Peninsula in West New Guinea. Van Bodegom (1973) suggests that it may also occur on the islands of Japen and Biak.
(largely after Cribb, 1986).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, prefers a position in light shade.