Dendrobium stratiotes

Dendrobium stratiotes Rchb.f., Gard. Chron. (1886, I) 266; (1886, II) 176, fig. 34.

An epiphytic herb. Stems cane-like to somewhat fusiform, 60-100 cm tall, 2 cm diam. swollen slightly in basal half. Leaves ovate to oblong-lanceolate, subacute at obliquely bilobed apex, 8-13 by 2-5 cm, articulated at base to tubular sheaths 1.8-3.2 cm long. Inflorescences suberect or erect, up to 30 cm long, 4-8-flowered; bracts tubular, subacute or obtuse, 4-5 mm long Flowers large, erect; pedicel emerging 6-10 mm ,:above axil of bract, with ovary 1.8-2.6 cm long Dorsal sepal recurved, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, 3-3.4 by 0.6-0.9 cm, twisted and slightly undulate; lateral sepals falcate, obliquely lanceolate, acuminate, c. 3.2 by 1.2 cm undulate on margins; mentum pointing backwards and slightly up-curved towards apex, narrowly conical, 1.5-1.6 cm long. Petals erect or suberect, linear, acute, 5-6.4 by 0.15-0.2 cm, twisted 2-4 times Lip large, 3-lobed, 3.2-3.7 by 2.3-2.5 cm; side-lobes oblong, truncate to rounded; midlobe lacking or with a short claw, ovate, acuminate, 1.8-2 by 1.5 cm, callus of 3 or 5 ridges, the middle longest and tapering out in centre of midlobe. Column 6-7 mm long.
(after P.J.Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Sepals white, petals shiny, green or yellow-green in apical two-third, lip white, veined with purple on lobes.

Habitat: Not known.

Distribution: Moluccas (Halmahera and Morotai), ?New Guinea, ?Sunda Islands (unlikely), ?Sulawesi.

Distribution in New Guinea: ?Papua (Vogelkop Peninsula).

Notes: Dendrobium stratiotes has flowers that can measure 10 cm from top to bottom. It is clearly related to Dendrobium antennatum and Dendrobium leporinum but differs from the former in having flowers of a larger size with larger segments and a lip in which the midlobe is half the total length of the lip and acuminate. The mentum often curves upwards at the apex or is straight rather than decurved. Its flowers are also larger than those of Dendrobium leporinum and distinctively coloured with yellow-green or green rather than violet petals.

A colour slide taken by J. van Bodegom of a plant collected near Kaimana in the Vogelkop (Cenderawasih) Peninsula of West New Guinea is almost certainly Dendrobium stratiotes, a first concrete record for New Guinea of this species.
(partly after Cribb, 1986).