Dendrobium triste Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 589; 21 (1928) t. 197, fig. 740.
Type: Schlechter 20246 (holo B, lost; iso AD, AMES, BO, E, G, K, L, NSW).
Rhizome very short, roots elongated, filiform, flexuose, glabrous. Stems crowded, pendulous, terete, 150-200 cm by 6-8 mm, densely many-leaved, unbranched. Leaf sheaths entirely covering the stem. Leaves subpatent, lanceolate-elliptic, 9-14 by 2-3.7 cm, apex subacute. Inflorescences arising laterally from the stems; peduncle hardly developed, 2-flowered, spathe laterally compressed, semiorbicular. Ovary 1 cm long, subsessile, obconical, glabrous. Flowers c. 2.5 cm across, fleshy. Sepals towards the apex thickened and incurved, outside verruculose. Dorsal sepal oblong, 1.5 cm long, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals obliquely oblong, a little widened at the base, 1.5 cm long, apex obtuse; mentum short, obtuse. Petals obliquely spathulate-oblong, a little shorter than the sepals, apex obtuse. Lip 3-lobed above the middle, 0.8 by 0.6 cm, inside in basal half transversely rugose, with an acute subdentate basal keel extending to the base of the midlobe, midlobe on the base and in the centre with warts and papillae; lateral lobes subpatent, triangular, interior margin subdentate, apex subacute; midlobe much larger, semioblong, margins undulate, apex acuminate. Column short, clinandrium 3-lobulate, the lateral lobules obliquely truncate, the median tooth-like, shorter; column-foot incurved. Anther quadrangular-cucullate, glabrous.
(after Schlechter, 1912).
Colours: Flowers dark purple, the lip with an orange-yellow keel, column whitish flushed with red, with an orange-yellow spot.
Habitat: Epiphyte in lower montane forest. Altitude 900 m.
Flowering time in the wild: September.
Distribution: New Guinea (endemic).
Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea (Sandaun Province: Torricelli Mountains).
Map: TRISTMAP.JPG [Dendrobium triste Schltr., distribution map.]
Cultivation: Intermediate growing epiphyte.