Family : Orchidaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The species is native to Java and Sumatra where it grows on the trees of the humid forests at low and medium altitudes.
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 adjective “planus, a, um” = plain, flat, with reference to the flattened pseudobulbs.
The Dendrobium planum J.J.Sm. (1905) is an epiphytic species with pseudobulbs laterally flattened, about 25 cm long, with alternate leaves oblong-lanceolate with bilobed apex, 5-6 cm long and 1,5-2 cm broad, of intense green colour and glossy above. Short inflorescences bearing 1-2 flowers, of about 1,5 cm of diameter, with sepals and petals of yellowish white colour and whitish labellum with margins veined and spotted of purple. Ovate dorsal sepal with pointed apex, about 8 mm long and 3 mm broad at the base, triangular lateral sepals with pointed apex, of the same length as the dorsal and about 7 mm broad, merged at the base forming a sort of spur (mentum). Linear petals with pointed apex, about 7 mm long and 2 mm broad, trilobed labellum, about 8 mm long and 7 mm broad, with triangular lateral lobes erect on the sides of the column and triangular median lobe with pointed apex and fimbriate margins, curved inward, run at the centre by an erect crest.
It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and division, with each section provided of at least 3-4 pseudobulbs.
Miniature orchid with unusual flat pseudobulbs, rare in cultivation, requires a slightly shaded position, medium-high temperatures, 22-34 °C, in summer, slightly lower in winter, high humidity, 70-85%, and constant light ventilation. Regular waterings during the growth of the pseudobulbs, but allowing the roots to slightly dry up before watering again, more spaced in winter till the vegetative restart, utilizing rain water, demineralized or by reverse osmosis. Fertilizations, during the vegetative period, preferably with balanced hydrosoluble product, with microelements, at ¼ of the dosage shown in the instructions. It can be cultivated in pots or baskets with bark fragments and medium sliced charcoal or mounted on branches or rafts of cork or of roots of arborescent ferns; transplants and repottings are to be done, when necessary, at the vegetative restart.
The species is reported in the appendix II of CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).
Synonyms: Grastidium planum (J.J.Sm.) Rauschert (1983).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza