Family : Orchidaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The species is native to Papua New Guinea where it grows on the trees of the humid forests between 300 and 1800 m of altitude.
The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek substantives “δένδρον” (dendron) = tree and “βίος” (bios) = life, with reference to the numerous species of the genus living on the trees; the specific name is the Latin present participle “aberrans, -antis” = wandering, from the verb “aberro” = to wander.
The Dendrobium aberrans Schltr. (1912) is an epiphytic species with short rhizome, filiform roots and characteristic pseudobulbs, woody and thin at the base, then clavate fusiform and longitudinally grooved, 3-6 cm long and of 0,4-1 cm of maximum diameter, of green or olive brown colour, provided at the apex of 2-3 leaves. Ovate-elliptical leaves with obtuse apex, 2-6 cm long and 1,7-2,5 cm broad, of dark green colour, coriaceous.
Ascending or drooping racemose inflorescences at the axil of the leaves, 7-10 cm long, with 2-6 flowers, of 1,2-1,5 cm of diameter, of bright white colour, cream white or white with pink shades, produced on the new as well as on the old pseudobulbs, lasting about 3 weeks. Oblong sepals, with obtuse apex, 0,5-0,7 cm long, well spread, the lateral two united at the base to form an obtuse spur (mentum) 0,5 cm long.
Obliquely lanceolate petals with acute apex and margins minutely ciliate-serrate, slightly retroflexed, 0,55 cm long, trilobed labellum, 0,4-0,6 cm long, with wide lateral oblong falcate lobes with obtuse apex and oblong median lobe with bilobed apex. Pedicel and ovary 1,3-1,5 cm long.
It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and by division, with each section provided of at least 3-4 pseudobulbs.
Miniature orchid of relatively easy cultivation, remontant, requires high luminosity, even some hours of direct morning sun in winter, intermediate temperatures, 18-30 °C, with lowest winter ones preferably not less than 15 °C, and a good daily thermal excursion to stimulate the blooming, high humidity, 75-90 %, and constantly moving air.
Regular and abundant waterings during the phase of growth, preferably in the morning and avoiding stagnations on the emerging vegetation, easily subject to rottenness, more spaced in winter, but without ever allowing the substratum to dry up completely, utilizing rain water, demineralized or by reverse osmosis. Monthly fertilizations, from spring to autumn, utilizing a product specific for orchids diluted at the 30-50 % in respect to the dosage indicated on the package.
It can be mounted on bark on cork or roots of arborescent ferns rafts, with sphagnum at the base to maintain the humidity, or cultivated in small pots with a compost formed by medium sliced bark fragments and charcoal, with addition of sphagnum. The repottings are to be done when strictly necessary, as it doesn’t love to be disturbed, at the vegetative restart.
The species is reported in the appendix II of the CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).
Synonyms: Sayeria aberrans (Schltr.) Rauschert (1983).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza