Dendrobium spectabile

Dendrobium spectabile (Blume) Miq., Fl. Ned. Indië 3 (1859) 645.

Basionym: Latouria spectabilis.

An epiphytic herb. Pseudobulbs clustered, cane-like, not noticeably clavate, up to about 40 by 1-1.3 cm, 5-8-noded below leaves, swollen at base, 4-6-leaved towards apex. Leaves suberect, coriaceous, elliptic, obtuse, up to 23 by 4-8 cm, shortly 'petiolate' at base. Inflorescences emerging from just below leaf-bases, erect, 20-40 cm long, few-many-flowered; peduncle terete, bearing 4-6 small sheaths along length; bracts elliptic-lanceolate, acute, 1-1.3 by 0.4 cm long. Flowers large, somewhat grotesque; pedicel and ovary 4-6 cm long. Dorsal sepal recurved, lanceolate, acuminate, 3.6 by 0.5 cm, with somewhat undulate margins; lateral sepals recurved, lanceolate-falcate, acuminate, 3.6 by 1.3 cm, with somewhat undulate margins, mentum obliquely conical, 1 cm long. Petals linear-lanceolate, acuminate, somewhat twisted, 4 by 0.6 cm, with undulate margins. Lip 3-lobed, recurved, 4 by 2.2 cm; side-lobes erect, subquadrate-semicircular, rounded in front; midlobe much longer than side-lobes, lanceolate, acuminate, undulate-twisted; callus 3-ridged, raised at base and apex. Column short, 3 mm long; foot 8.5 mm long.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Colours: Flowers yellow, commonly heavily mottled with maroon on sepals and petals, lined with maroon on lip and with a white callus.

Habitat: Epiphyte in lowland swampy forest, mangroves, lower montane forest, or on planted Coconut or Casuarina trees or rain trees (Samanea saman) in urban areas; sometimes also lithophytic. Altitude 0 to 1200 m.

Flowering time in the wild: May to August.

Distribution: New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua and Papua New Guinea, widespread.

Map: SPECTMAP.JPG [Dendrobium spectabile (Blume) Miq., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 38 (1983) 242, map 3, with new records added.]

Notes: Dendrobium spectabile is allied to Dendrobium alexandrae but is easily recognised by its very undulate flower segments and the longer lanceolate lip midlobe which is striped with purple rather than being spotted.
(after Cribb, 1983).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte.