Dendrobium violaceoflavens

Dendrobium violaceoflavens J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 14 (1929) 420, pl. 65, 72.

Type: Thomsen 680 (holo L; iso BO, L).

An epiphytic herb. Stem 2.5-4 m long, cane-like, tapering above. Leaves coriaceous, elliptic to lanceolate, obtuse at unequally bilobed apex, 14.5-21 by 3-7.5 cm, articulated to tubular sheaths 4.5-5 cm long. Inflorescences erect-spreading, laxly 10-20 or more-flowered, 30-60 cm long; peduncle c. 12.5 cm long; bracts elliptic, acute, 7-8 mm long. Flowers large, showy, fleshy; pedicel and ovary c. 5 cm long. Dorsal sepal oblong, very obtuse, rounded or truncate at apex, 1 9-2.45 by 1.2-1.3 cm; lateral sepals spreading, oblong, oblique at base, rounded at apex, 2.2-2.65 by 1.2-1.85 cm; mentum pointing backwards, with a slender apical part, obscurely bifid at apex, 1.5-1.8 cm long. Petals spathulate, rounded or emarginate, 2-2.8 by 0.8-1.2 cm, not twisted or half-twisted. Lip convex, 3-lobed, 2.5-3.2 by 1.75-1.9 cm; side-lobes obliquely elliptic, rounded or obtuse and spreading at apex; midlobe porrect, obovate or elliptic, apiculate, side margins recurved; callus of 5 keels, the central one longest and somewhat raised at apex on midlobe. Column 7-8 mm long.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Colours: Sepals and petals yellow; lip bluish or violet.

Habitat: Epiphyte in rainforest, in shaded positions. Altitude 0-50 m.

Distribution: New Guinea.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Mamberamo River; Becking River).

Map: VIOLAMAP.JPG [Dendrobium violaceoflavens J.J.Sm., distribution map, redrawn from P. Cribb, Kew Bull. 41 (1986) 650, map 5.]

Notes: Dendrobium violaceoflavens is one of the largest species in section Spatulata both in its vegetative habit, with canes up to 3 m long, and flower size. In lip shape, it comes closest to Dendrobium lasianthera but that species has distinctively coloured flowers, much narrower acute sepals and linear spirally twisted petals. Dendrobium aries is similarly coloured to Dendrobium violaceoflavens, and was first collected in the same area, but it has a very different concave lip with a larger midlobe and a callus in which the mid-ridge forms a distinct flap-like lamella on the midlobe.
(after Cribb, 1986).

Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, prefers shaded position.