Dendrobium squamiferum

Dendrobium squamiferum J.J.Sm., Bull. Dép. Agric. Indes Néerl. 19 (1908) 19; Nova Guinea 8, 1 (1909) 83 & 138, t. 28, fig. 91.

Type: Versteeg 1068 (holo BO, iso L).

Rhizome short. Stems crowded, flexuose, 30-75 cm long, many-leaved. Leaf sheaths 1.3-2.5 cm long, tubular, longer than the internodes. Leaves lanceolate, 7.5-12.5 by 2-2.7 cm, leaves in basal and apical parts of the stem smaller, apex acute, minutely unequally bidentate. Inflorescences arising laterally from the stem, perforating two sheaths, racemose, subcapitate, short, subsessile; rachis 1 cm long, minutely squamulose, up to c. 7-flowered. Floral bracts oblong, 0.8 by 0.6 cm, apex subcucullate-incurved, truncate, squamulose on both sides. Pedicel and ovary 1.1 cm long, 6-grooved, densely blackish squamulose. Flowers 1.7 cm long, not widely opening, fleshy, outside brown-squamulose. Dorsal sepal ovate, 1.1 cm by 6.3 mm, 7-nerved, concave, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals obliquely ovate-triangular, 1.15 cm by 7 mm, 8-nerved, concave, apex obtuse; mentum conical, 0.7 cm long, appressed to the ovary, obtuse. Petals oblong, 1 cm by 4.5 mm, 3-nerved at the base, concave, apex obtuse. Lip obscurely 3-lobed, clawed, cuneate-obovate, 1.45 by 0.7 cm, claw (hypochile) cuneate-oblong, 0.55 cm long, in basal 0.2 cm adnate to the column-foot, 5-nerved; central part of the lip (mesochile) obtrapeziform, 0.4 by 0.58 cm, lightly contracted near the base, on either side near the base with a short lobule, in the centre with 7 longitudinal keels, these towards the claw merging into a broad membranous, trifid, finely laciniate, broad appendage; midlobe semiorbicular-triangular, 0.5 by 0.7 cm, at the base broader than the mesochile, on either side at the base tooth-like extended, inside villose-pubescent, apex obtuse. Column broad, semiglobose, 0.4 cm long, 0.45 cm wide, clinandrium 3-lobulate, the lateral lobules minutely denticulate, the median subulate; stigma 5-angled; column-foot straight, 0.7 cm long, very fleshy, in apical 3/5 strongly convex and provided with a rather low longitudinal keel inside. Anther cucullate, transversely elliptic.
(after Smith, 1909).

Colours: Sepals white, outside covered with dark yellow-brown scale-hairs, petals white, lip pale yellow, the basal appendage deeper yellow, the keels largely red. Bracts light green with grey dots.

Habitat: Epiphyte on Pandanus in Metroxylon swamps in the lowlands. According to O'Byrne up to 450 m in Papua New Guinea, in seasonally dry rainforest.

Flowering time in the wild: May, September.

Distribution: New Guinea (endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Merauke and Jayapura Regencies); Papua New Guinea (?Central Province, fide O'Byrne).

Notes: Should be compared with Dendrobium kempterianum.

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte.