Dendrobium terrestre

Dendrobium terrestre J.J.Sm., Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 2, 2 (1911) 10; Nova Guinea 12, 1 (1913) 45, t. 13, fig. 35.

Type: Kock, de 119 (holo BO).

A large epiphytic or terrestrial herb. Pseudobulbs clustered, terete, rarely dilated above, 9-14-noded below leaves, 20-52 by 0.6-1 cm, covered with compressed sheaths when young, 3-7-leaved in apical third. Leaves well-spaced, coriaceous, suberect or spreading, flat, elliptic, rounded at apex, 7-13 by 3.6-5.5 cm, shortly petiolate. Inflorescences terminal or subterminal, erect or spreading, 10-22 cm long, 6-20-flowered; bracts cucullate, narrowly elliptic, subacute, 11-17 by 6-8 mm. Pedicel and ovary 3 cm long. Dorsal sepal narrowly elliptic, acute, 2.3-2.85 by 0.8-1 cm; lateral sepals obliquely lanceolate, acuminate, 2.4-2.85 by 1 cm; mentum shortly bluntly conical, 5 mm long, forming an acute angle with the ovary. Petals oblong-oblanceolate, apiculate, 2.3-3.1 by 0.8-1.2 cm. Lip 3-lobed near apex to subentire, 2.5-3 by 1.4-1.85 cm; side-lobes erect, obliquely elliptic-oblong; midlobe longer than side-lobes, ovate, slightly recurved at acuminate apex; callus linear, 3-ridged, not reaching base of midlobe. Column 2 mm long; foot short, 4-5 mm long.
(largely after Cribb, 1983).

Colours: Flowers ochre-yellow to orange (rarely white), commonly spotted red-purple; lip orange, striped with red. Albino forms are known to occur; these have white sepals and petals and a greenish yellow lip.

Habitat: Epiphyte or terrestrial in montane forest. Altitude 1800 to 2600 m.

Flowering time in the wild: January to May, October.

Distribution: New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Central mountain range); Papua New Guinea (widespread, including New Britain).

Map: TERREMAP.JPG [Dendrobium terrestre J.J.Sm., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 38 (1983) 267, map 5.]

Notes: Dendrobium terrestre is readily recognised by its distinctively coloured orange or yellow flowers marked with red-purple on the outer surface and on the lip and by its short mentum. The flowers are structurally similar to those of Dendrobium rigidifolium but differ in that the callus ridges on the lip do not extend to the base of the midlobe.

Dendrobium montisyulei may be conspecific, in which case it would have priority over the name D. terrestre.
(largely after Cribb, 1983).

Cultivation: Cool growing terrestrial, keep in light shade.