Family : Orchidaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The species is native to western New Guinea where grows as epiphyte in the humid forests on the higher branches or as litophyte on the rocks.
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 combination of the Latin adjective “violaceus, a, um” = violaceous, violet, and of the present participle “flavens” = yellow, of the verb “flaveo” = to be yellow, with reference to the colour of the flowers.
The Dendrobium violaceoflavens J.J.Sm. (1929) is an epiphytic species with robust pseudobulbs that can reach in cultivation the length of 2 m, with specimens in nature up to 5 m, provided of alternate leaves, distichous, lanceolate to oblong-ovate, up to 20 cm long and 12 cm broad, coriaceous, of intense green colour. Racemose inflorescences from the upper nodes, 30-55 cm long, bearing numerous flowers, of 4,5-5,5 cm of diameter, waxy, with oblong sepals and spatulate pale yellow petals and white trilobed labellum with violaceous veins and shades; the flowers emit a pleasant and intense fragrance.
It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and division, to be done at the vegetative restart, with each section provided of at least 3-4 peudobulbs.
Rare species highly sought after by the collectors because of the beauty of its long lasting flowers, up to about 2 months, and often used in the hybridizations, requires partial shade, high temperatures, 25-35 °C, with lowest night values in winter not under the 16-18 °C, high atmospheric humidity, 70-85%, and constantly moving air. The waterings must be regular and abundant, but allowing the substratum to dry up before watering again, utilizing rain water, demineralized or by reverse osmosis. Fertilizations, during the growth period of the pseudobulbs, to be done preferably with hydrosoluble balanced products, with microelements, at half the dosage shown on the package. It can be mounted on trunks, bark, raft of cork or of roots of arborescent ferns, or cultivated in pot, with draining and aerated compost that can be formed by medium sliced bark fragments or coir, with possible addition of inerts to improve the drainage; in its positioning are to be kept in mind the dimensions it may reach. The repottings, when strictly nevessary, are to be done by the vegetative restart advised by the emission of the new roots.
The species is reported in the appendix II of CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).
Synonyms: Durabaculum violaceoflavens (J.J.Sm.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones (2002).
The photographic file of Giuseppe Mazza