Genus Dendrobium section Microphytanthe

Genus Dendrobium section Microphytanthe

Genus Dendrobium sect. Microphytanthe Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 442. Type species: Dendrobium bulbophylloides Schltr.


  • Genus Microphytanthe (Schltr.) Brieger in Schltr., Orchideen, ed. 3, 1 (1981) 742. Type species: Microphytanthe bulbophylloides (Schltr.) Brieger (basionym: Dendrobium bulbophylloides Schltr.).

Rhizome elongated, creeping. Pseudobulbs distant along the rhizome, consisting of one internode, ovoid to oblongoid, 1-leaved. Leaves small, thick coriaceous, glabrous; leaf sheath absent. Inflorescences terminal or subterminal laterally just below the apex, short, 1-flowered. Flowers small, resupinate, fleshy, lasting a few weeks. Sepals not connate; mentum not spur-like, large and rather broad, open in front. Petals much narrower than the sepals. Lip mobile on the apex of the column-foot, fleshy, entire or weakly lobed, without keels but sometimes with transverse calli near the middle, glabrous. .

New Guinea, endemic. Three species.

Epiphytes in lowland and montane forest, up to 2750 m above sea level.

  • Lavarack, B., W. Harris & G. Stocker. 2000. Dendrobium and its relatives. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  • Reeve, T.M. 1983. A revision of Dendrobium section Microphytanthe. Orchadian 7: 203-206.

Next to sect. Herpetophytum, this is the only other endemic section of Dendrobium in New Guinea. The three species of sect. Microphytanthe are very similar in habit: they are very small creeping plants with long rhizomes, forming strings of short, 1-leaved pseudobulbs. At first sight they can easily be mistaken for species of Bulbophyllum, but the position of the inflorescence soon dispels the illusion. The solitary flowers are small, but large for the plant. This section appears to be more closely related to the genus Cadetia than to any other group of species within Dendrobium itself, a fact that is bound to cause taxonomical problems.

In New Guinea Dendrobium section Microphytanthe contains the following 3 species:

Dendrobium bulbophylloides
Dendrobium margaretiae
Dendrobium nummularia

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Genus Dendrobium section Microphytanthe

Dendrobium bulbophylloides Schltr., photo A. de Wilde, cultivated Highland Orchid Collection, Laiagam, PNG