Dendrobium sylvanum

Dendrobium sylvanum Rchb.f., Linnaea 41 (1877) 91.

Type: Vieillard 1304 (holo W) (OR: Viellard 1345 (holo P), see Hallé 1977).

An epiphytic herb. Stems cane-like, 50-120 cm tall, slightly dilated in middle, 1-2 cm diam. Leaves coriaceous, oblong to narrowly oblong-ovate or elliptic, obtuse or rounded at the unequally bilobed apex, 8-16 by 2.5-5.5 cm, articulated at base to tubular sheaths 3-4 cm long. Inflorescences 20-55 cm long, densely up to 40-flowered; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, 5-13 mm long. Flowers: pedicel and ovary 2.2-3.7 cm long. Dorsal sepal narrowly oblong, obtuse, apiculate, l.8-2.2 by 0.5-0.6 cm, recurved; lateral sepals recurved, oblique, oblong, obtuse, 2.1-2.7 by 0.7-0.9 cm; mentum conical, 6-7 mm long. Petals spathulate, rounded or emarginate, l.9-2.6 by 0.5-0.6 cm, not or half-twisted. Lip narrow, 3-lobed, l.8-2.4 by 0.8-l.1 cm; side-lobes narrowly oblong, rounded and erose in front; midlobe recurved, oblong, apiculate or obtuse, with undulate margins; callus of three ridges all undulate and raised at apex into oblong or triangular flaps on middle of midlobe, mid-ridge longest. Column 4 mm long, erose at apex, with very short acute apical stelidia.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Flowers bronze-yellow, golden-yellow to yellow-green with brown or purple lines at base of sepals and petals; lip with purple venation and a white callus tipped with violet.

Habitat: Epiphyte in coastal and swamp forest as well as rainforest. Altitude 0-80 m.

Flowering time in the wild: Probably throughout the year.

Distribution: New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago (New Ireland), Solomon Islands, ?New Caledonia.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea, widespread along the north coast.

Map: SYLVAMAP.JPG [Dendrobium sylvanum Rchb.f., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 41 (1986) 644, map 4.]

Notes: Dendrobium sylvanum is similar to Dendrobium lineale and to Dendrobium gouldii in having spathulate petals and a lip with an undulate margined midlobe bearing three lamellate callus ridges on its basal half. It differs, however, in having a dense inflorescence of many golden-brown, ochre or yellow flowers and a narrow lip usually one cm or less broad.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, prefers light position.