Dendrobium ramificans

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini



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Dendrobium ramificans is a Sulawesi and Moluccas epiphyte with 15-30 cm close, ramified, stems © Giuseppe Mazza

The species is native to Sulawesi and Moluccas where it lives 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” = tree and “βίος” (bios) = life, with reference to the numerous species of the genus living on the trees; the name of the species is the Latin adjective “ramificans, -antis” = ramifying.

The Dendrobium ramificans J.J.Sm. (1904) is an epiphytic species with close stems, ramified, 15-30 cm long with a distance between the nodes of about 1 cm, provided for almost all their length of alternate leaves, distichous, imbricate, equitant (at a single face with lamina folded in two along the central vein), elliptical with acuminate apex, 1,5-2 cm long and 0,6-1 cm broad, fleshy.

Subsessile inflorescences from the upper nodes bearing numerous white flowers with purple veins, of about 5 mm of diameter, surrounded by dry scales, opening in succession.

Ovate dorsal sepal with obtuse apex, 2,5 mm long and 2 mm broad, ovate-triangular lateral sepals with obtuse apex, 3 mm long and 3,5 mm broad, united at the base to form a sort of spur (mentum).

Oblong petals with obtuse apex, 2,5 mm long and 1 mm broad, trilobed labellum, about 5 mm long and 2 mm broad, with triangular lateral lobes and oblong median lobe with obtuse apex, 3 mm long and 2 mm broad, and about 1 mm long column.

Pedicel and ovary long about 5 mm.

It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and at amateur level by division.

Miniature orchid present, outside the origin zones, almost exclusively in botanical gardens and specialized collections.

It requires a partially shaded and aerated position, medium-high temperatures, 20-32 °C, almost constant during the year, high humidity, 70-85%, and regular waterings, but without stagnations, utilizing rain water, demineralized or by reverse osmosis.

It can be cultivated in pots or baskets, with draining compost based on medium-sliced bark fragments, or mounted on pieces of bark or rafts of cork or of roots of arborescen ferns covered by sphagnum.

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Alternate 1,5-2 cm fleshy leaves, distichous, imbricate with lamina folded in two along the central vein. Flowers of only 5 mm opening in succession © Giuseppe Mazza

Repottings and possible divisions are to be done at the vegetative restart signalled by the emission of the new roots.

Synonyms: Aporum ramificans (J.J.Sm.) Rauschert (1983).


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