Dipodium pandanum

Dipodium pandanum F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agric. J. 6 (1900) 287, pl. 187 & 188

Type: Brisbane cult. (Armit coll., leg. Bailey) s.n. (III-1900, New Guinea, Samarai)

Stem climbing, densely leafy. Leaves patent, alternately 2-ranked, linear-ligulate, gradually narrowed towards the apex, c. 22.5 cm long, at the base 2.9 cm wide, acute, c. 7-nerved, nerves underneath prominent; leaf-sheaths erect-patent, concave, nervose, c. 11 cm long. Inflorescences axillary, elongated, laxly many-flowered, peduncle c. 20 cm long, with distant, short, broad, obtuse scales; rachis c. 31 cm long. Floral bracts triangular, 0.4-0.5 cm long. Flowers large, sepals and petals widely patent, more or less recurved. Sepals spathulate-sublanceolate, obtuse. Median sepal 2.2 by 0.75 cm, at the base 0.38 cm wide. Lateral sepals somewhat oblique, 2.3 by 0.68 cm, at the base 0.34 cm wide. Petals narrowly spathulate-rhomboid, suboblique, acute, c. 2.2 by 0.67 cm, at the base 0.25 cm wide. Lip at the base concave, for 0.25 cm adnate to the base of the column, 3-lobed, when flattened 1.75 cm long; lateral lobes very small, appressed to and much shorter than the column, linear-triangular, rather obtuse, 0.18 cm long; mid-lobe porrect, clawed; claw at the base slightly dilated, carnose-thickened, with an elongated-triangular, velutinous thickening, rounded at the base, which is decurrent on the base of the blade and which terminates above the base of the lip, blade rhombic, acutely acuminate, convex, on the nerves velutinous, along the median with a longitudinal, villose band extending to the apex, carnose, 1.37 cm long, when flattened 0.75 cm wide. Column thick, straight, at the apex slightly recurved, 0.73 cm long, 3-dentate, at the base concave, glabrous, adnate to the lip, with a triangular velutinous mark below the stigma, auricles rounded, somewhat divergent. Pollinia 2, elliptic, sulcate, stipe short, attached with two filiform extensions. Stigma transverse, almost terminal. Ovary curved, 6-grooved, 2.2 cm long; pedicel 2.1 cm long. (After Smith, 1909, as Dipodium pandanum F.M.Bailey var. alba J.J.Sm.).

Colours: Sepals and petals whitish, outside spotted brownish red. Lip white with reddish lines. Rarely sepals, petals and lip all white. Column yellow.

Habitat: Terrestrial in forest, climbing against tree trunks. Altitude 5-900 m.

Flowering time in the wild: January, March, May, July, September.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea), Solomon Islands, Australia.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 245-19M.JPG

Cultivation: Warm growing terrestrial.

Note: Unmistakable among New Guinea orchids for its spirally climbing stems with strap-shaped leaves. Often considered synonymous with Dipodium pictum (Lindl.) Rchb.f., but in D. pandanum the lip is much more hairy than in D. pictum. A critical revision of all available material is desirable to settle the matter.