Vanda helvola Blume, Rumphia 4 (1849) 49
Type: Blume 2213 (Java) (holo L; iso L)
Stem erect, elongated, usually unbranched, stout, densely leafy. Leaves c. 16 by 3.5 cm, strap-shaped, apex praemorse, erose, appearing 3-lobulate, with the lateral lobules subfalcate, pointed, the median lobule tooth-like, subacute to almost subulate. Inflorescences from the leaf axils, shorter than the leaves, laxly 5- to 6-flowered. Pedicel and ovary long and slender. Flowers widely opening, about 4 cm wide. Sepals 1.8 by 1.2 cm, shortly clawed, broadly ovate, undulate, apex broadly rounded. Petals similar to the sepals, 1.6 by 1.2 cm. Lip 1.8 by 1.6 cm, 3-lobed, spurred; lateral lobes 0.8 cm long, obliquely oblong-ligulate, obliquely pointing backwards, apex broadly rounded; mid-lobe orbicular-obovate, 0.8 by 0.84 cm, apex broadly rounded; between the lateral lobes with 3 closely parallel rounded ribs decurrent on the base of the mid-lobe; spur cylindrical, obtuse, hairy inside, with two parallel calli on back wall near the mouth. Column relatively short and very broad, 0.75 cm long, at the base 1.27 cm wide, with semicircular sides.
Colours: Sepals and petals light brown to deep red brown with creamy yellow margins, rarely yellow with whitish margins. Lip pale brown, rarely yellow, yellowish at the base, with red brown (rarely yellow) markings near the mouth of the spur. Column creamy white with two lateral red-brown spots and a red-brown band near base of lip, rarely creamy white with yellow markings. Anther creamy white.
Habitat: Epiphyte in hill forest; 950 m.
Flowering time in the wild: Not known.
Distribution: Malesia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, New Guinea, Philippines).
Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea. See map: 717-48M.JPG.
Cultivation: Warm growing epiphyte, requires light position.