Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Genus Dendrobium sect. Herpethophytum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 451. Type species: Dendrobium herpethophytum Schltr.

Synonyms:

  • Herpethophytum (Schltr.) Brieger in Schltr., Orchideen ed. 3, 1 (1981) 660. Type species: Herpethophytum schlechteri Rauschert (basionym: Dendrobium herpetophytum Schltr.).

Epiphytes. Roots thin. Rhizome short to elongated. Stems numerous, elongated and slender, wiry, not fleshy, branching, many-leaved. Leaves usually short and linear, sometimes quite fleshy, long-lived, glabrous ; leaf sheath tubular, glabrous. Inflorescences lateral from the stem, very short, 1-flowered. Flowers very small, not resupinate, opening synchrone, lasting less than 1 day, white, usually with purplish markings on the lip. Lateral sepals usually coherent; mentum conspicuous, spur-like. Lip mobile on the apex of the column foot, 3-lobed, sometimes entire, usually with a pair of fleshy ridges or a U-shaped callus in the centre.


Sulawesi (1 species) and New Guinea. About 19 species, 18 species in New Guinea).

Epiphytes in lowland and (mainly) montane forest.

  • Lavarack, B., W. Harris & G. Stocker. 2000. Dendrobium and its relatives. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

The spelling 'Herpethophytum’ is linguistically incorrect but must be followed..

Members of Dendrobium sect. Herpethophytum are rather small shrubby plants that at flowering time carry tiny solitary white flowers which last only a single day. Herpetophytum plants are somewhat similar to sect. Biloba in that the flowers are not resupinate, but it is clearly distinct in e.g. the branching stems, thin roots, ephemeral flowers with spur-like mentum, etc. Their horticultural virtue is even less than that of sect. Biloba.

Dendrobium section Herpetophytum in New Guinea contains the following 18 species and 1 variety:

Dendrobium appendicula
Dendrobium decumbens
Dendrobium decumbens var. stenophyllum
Dendrobium disoides
Dendrobium fusciflorum
Dendrobium glomeroides
Dendrobium glossorhynchoides
Dendrobium herpetophytum
Dendrobium hippocrepiferum
Dendrobium millarae
Dendrobium minimiflorum
Dendrobium nigricans
Dendrobium oxychilum
Dendrobium podocarpifolium
Dendrobium scopula
Dendrobium stipiticola
Dendrobium vagabundum
Dendrobium vestigiiferum
Dendrobium vonroemeri


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Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, habit detail, photo P. O'Byrne, based on O'Byrne D320

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, habit (in situ), photo A. Schuiteman, based on Yumte 163

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, flower, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Yumte 163

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, habit, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Leiden cult. 31450

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, flower, frontal view, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Leiden cult. 31450

Genus Dendrobium section Herpetophytum

Dendrobium sp. sect. Herpetophytum, flower, lateral view, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Leiden cult. 31450