Dendrochilum woodianum

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini



The species is native to the Philippines (Mindoro) where it grows on the trees of the humid forests between the 1200 and 2800 m of altitude.

The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek substantives “δένδρον” (dendron) = tree and “χεῖλος” (cheilos) = lip, with reference to its epiphytic nature and to the prominent labellum; the species is dedicated to the American physician, soldier and politician Leonard Wood (1860-1927), who was Governor General of the Philippines and organized and led the first ascension and exploration to the Mount Halcon where the species was found.

Common names: Wood’s dendrochilum (English).

The Dendrochilum woodianum Ames (1908) is an epiphytic species with creeping rhizome and close pyriform pseudobulbs, 0,5-0,7 cm long and about 0,4 cm broad, with at the apex one single leaf, on short petiole, oblanceolate, 2,5-6 cm long and 0,5-1 cm broad, coriaceous.

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Rare in nature and little cultivated, Dendrochilum woodianum is a Philippines epiphyte. Miniature orchid with ablaze sepals and petals © Giuseppe Mazza

Inflorescence from the base of the pseudobulb, on a 5-8 cm long scape, bearing up to more than 10 tiny flowers, spaced of about 2 mm on the rachis and subtended by ovate bracts about 4 mm long, with sepals and petals of red colour or red with yellowish apices, odourless. Similar oblong-linear sepals with obtuse apex, 6-7 mm long and 2-2,5 mm, lanceolate petals with obtuse apex and eroded margins, about 6 mm long and 2 mm broad, bilobed saccate labellum with ovate-triangular erect lobes with obtuse apex on the sides of the column, 1,5-2 mm long and about 4 mm broad (spread), and 2,5 mm long column.

Miniature orchid quite rare in nature and little frequent in cultivation, needs a semi-shaded and aerated position, medium-high temperatures, 20-30 °C, with lowest values not under the 14 °C, and high atmospheric humidity, 75-90 %. The waterings must be regular and abundant during the growth phase, slightly more spaced during the vegetative rest. It can be cultivated in pots or baskets, with compost based on medium sliced bark fragments, or mounted on small logs or rafts covered by sphagnum in order to maintain the humidity. Repottings and possible divisions are to be done, when strictly necessary, at the vegetative restart.

The species is reported in the appendix II of the CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).

Synonyms: Pseudacoridium woodianum (Ames) Ames (1922).


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