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Genus Dendrobium Family Orchidaceae

Synonyms: Thelychiton Endl. APNI*
Australorchis Brieger APNI*
Tetrabaculum M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Tropilis Raf. APNI*
Dockrillia Brieger APNI*
Aporopsis (Schltr.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Cepobaculum M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Ceratobium (Lindl.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Coelandria Fitzg. APNI*
Davejonesia M.A.Clem. APNI*
Dichopus Blume APNI*
Durabaculum M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Eleutheroglossum (Schltr.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Grastidium Blume APNI*
Trachyrhizum (Schltr.) Brieger APNI*
Vappodes M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Stilbophyllum D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*
Monanthos (Schltr.) Brieger APNI*
Leioanthum M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones APNI*
Ceraia Lour. APNI*

Description: Epiphytic, epilithic or rarely terrestrial herbs, sympodial; roots creeping over the surface of the substrate or aerial or rarely subterranean, usually fibrous. Stems slender and undifferentiated or differentiated into rhizome and pseudobulb; pseudobulb of several to many internodes, usually cane-like.

Leaves tufted at apex of shoot or apparently terminal [or scattered along the pseudobulb], 1–6 [or many] per shoot, distichous, conduplicate or flattened or terete [or laterally flattened].

Inflorescence racemose, 1–many-flowered, lateral but often subterminal or apparently terminal; flowers resupinate or not. Dorsal sepal free, similar to lateral sepals. Lateral sepals united basally to each other and to column foot forming a mentum, otherwise free. Lateral petals free, usually slightly smaller [or larger] than dorsal sepal. Labellum free, hinged to the tip of the column foot; lamina obscurely to distinctly 3-lobed, usually bearing 1–7 longitudinal keels. Column lacking free filament and style; column wings fused to column, reduced to teeth that project beside the anther. Column foot usually as long as or longer than the column itself. Anther incumbent, cap-like. Pollinia 4, waxy. Stigma entire. Rostellum not prominent, ventral.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 1400 spp., Asia (as far west as India and as far north as Korea), Melanesia, Aust. & N.Z. Aust.: 71 spp. (52 spp. endemic), all States except S.A.

Molecular phylogenetic analyses (e.g. Yukawa et al. 2000, pp. 465-471 in Monocots: Systematics and Evolution; Clements 2003, Telopea 10: 247-298) show strongly that Dendrobium, as traditionally circumscribed, is polyphyletic by inclusion of several other genera (none of which occurs in New South Wales). Dendrobium therefore needs nomenclatural change at generic level, either by lumping the included genera into it, or by splitting it into many smaller genera. Clements and Jones (2002, Orchadian 13: 485-497) chose the second option and proposed to segregate numerous genera from Dendrobium, of which Australorchis, Dockrillia, Tetrabaculum, Thelychiton and Tropilis are represented in New South Wales. We are likely to recognize these genera once a detailed phylogenetic analysis supporting their monophyly is published. Until then, we have chosen to treat them as synonyms of a broadly circumscribed Dendrobium.

Text by P. H. Weston
Taxon concept: P. H. Weston (1993, Flora of New South Wales vol. 4)

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Dendrobium,    Dendrobium (pugioniforme x striolatum) x pugioniforme,    Dendrobium moorei,    Dendrobium pugioniforme x fairfaxii,    Dendrobium pugioniforme x linguiforme,    Dendrobium pugioniforme x mortii,    Dendrobium schoeninum x mortii,    Dendrobium schoeninum x pugioniforme,    Dendrobium speciosum,    Dendrobium teretifolium x linguiforme,    Dendrobium x suffusum

 Key to the species 
1Leaves succulent, circular in cross section or more or less flattened; stems wiry throughout their length; flowers not resupinate (i.e. labellum uppermost in flower)2
Leaves thin to leathery, conduplicate; stems swollen for at least part of their length; flowers resupinate (i.e. labellum lowermost in flower)11
2Leaves ellipsoid to obloid or elliptic to oblong to obovate or ovate3
leaves linear, terete
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5
3Leaves ellipsoid to obloid, tuberculate, resembling small gherkinsDendrobium cucumerinum
Leaves flattened, not tuberculate
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4
4Leaves elliptic to oblong to obovate, longitudinally furrowed on top; inflorescences 6–20-flowered; sepals and lateral petals white to cream; plant prostrateDendrobium linguiforme
Leaves flattened-ovate, attenuate, smooth; inflorescences 1–3-flowered; sepals and lateral petals green to brown; plant pendent
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Dendrobium pugioniforme
5Tepal tips filiform; leaves not furrowed, 10–100 cm long6
Tepal tips acute to obtuse; leaves shallowly to deeply furrowed, 1.5–16 cm long
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8
6Axillary buds prominently protruding, conical; inflorescence 4–15-floweredDendrobium teretifolium
Axillary buds not protruding or protruding slightly, flat to rounded; inflorescence 1–7-flowered
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7
7Flower predominantly yellow; dorsal sepal 2.5–5 cm longDendrobium dolichophyllum
Flower predominantly white to cream; dorsal sepal 2–3.5 cm long
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Dendrobium fairfaxii
8Leaves erectDendrobium schoeninum
Leaves pendent
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9
9Midlobe of labellum triangular to ovate; plants epilithicDendrobium striolatum
Midlobe of labellum subcircular to subflabelliform; plants epiphytic
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10
10Labellum white with green keels and a few purple blotches at the apex of the disc; sepals and lateral petals recurved near their apicesDendrobium mortii
Labellum white; sepals and lateral petals not recurved near their apices
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Dendrobium bowmanii
11Upper half of stem swollen, square in cross section; basal half of stem thin and wiry12
Stem circular or elliptic in cross section, not wiry; sepals and lateral petals linear to oblong or triangular
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13
12Dorsal sepal 19–30 mm long; labellum 6–8 mm wideDendrobium tetragonum
Dorsal sepal 38–60 mm long; labellum 7–9 mm wide
                       Back to 11
Dendrobium melaleucaphilum
13Inflorescences 20–70 cm long, 20–200-flowered14
Inflorescences 5–17 cm long, 2–30-flowered
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15
14Stems thickest near the base, tapering towards the tip; basket roots absent; dorsal sepal 20–40 mm long; inflorescences 20–115-floweredDendrobium speciosum var. speciosum
Stems thickest near the middle, tapering to both ends; basket roots present; dorsal sepal 16–28 mm long; inflorescences 90–200-flowered
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Dendrobium speciosum var. hillii
15Dorsal sepal more than 4 times as long as broadDendrobium aemulum
Dorsal sepal less than 4 times as long as broad
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16
16Dorsal sepal 30–40 mm long; midlobe of labellum incurvedDendrobium falcorostrum
Dorsal sepal 4–16 mm long; midlobe of labellum recurved or vestigial
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17
17Stems more or less linear to cylindrical, 17–60 cm longDendrobium gracilicaule
Stems ovoid to linear to ovoid or broad-ellipsoid, 1–30 cm long
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18
18Dorsal sepal 9–16 mm long; flowers white to pink to purple and the labellum nearly always strongly marked with darker purpleDendrobium kingianum
Dorsal sepal 4–7 mm long; flowers yellow to yellowish green, sometimes the sepals with pink or red margins
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19
19Stems with 1 or rarely 2 leaves at apex, clearly differentiated into a basal, prostrate, freely rooting rhizomatous portion and an upper erect, rootless portion that is ovoid to narrow-ovoid, 2–10 cm longDendrobium monophyllum
Stems usually with 2 leaves at apex, lacking a distinct rhizomatous portion, thickest about the middle, rooting only at the base, 1–2.5 cm long
                       Back to 18
Dendrobium schneiderae

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