Accepted name: Dendrochilum alatum Ames, Orchidaceae 6: 45 (1920)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Eurybrachium.







Origin in the Wild




Elevation in the Wild


1700-3200 metres


Habitat in the Wild


The type specimen was collected on the Marai Parai Spur on Mount Kinabalu. The other places on Mount Kinabalu where it has been collected are; Pig Hill, Paka-paka cave, Tenompok, Mesilau Cave Trail and Gurulau Spur.


This species is endemic to Mount Kinabalu. Jeffrey Wood described Dendrochilum alatum's habitat as lower and upper montane forest, ridge scrub and Dacrydium and Leptospermum scrub. The plant is generally found in these habitats when they are on ultramafic and granite substrate.


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs clump on a rhizome that can grow to 3cm long. The pseudobulbs are coloured orange-yellow to red and are shaped ovoid or obpyriform, rugose. The pseudobulbs measure 0.5-1.6cm long and 0.5-0.9cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 3 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls soon disintegrate into non-persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 1.0-2.5cm long. The leaf blades are shaped linear-lanceolate with obtuse to acute apices that are apiculate. The leaf blades measure 6-15cm long and 0.5-0.6cm wide. The leaves are coloured dark olive-green and have 3 distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The peduncle is gently curved and measures 5.5-8.5cm long. The rachis is arching to pendent and measures 5-15cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 2mm apart. There are 1-3 non-floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis.


The Flowers


The flower is yellow or greenish-yellow with an orange or brown red column. The dorsal sepal is curved forward, shaped narrowly elliptic and has acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 3mm long and 1.1-1.2mm wide. The dorsal sepal has entire margins and is 1-veined. The lateral sepals are shaped narrowly ovate-elliptic and have acute apices that are conduplicate. The lateral sepals measure 3-3.75mm long and 1.5mm wide. The laterals are slightly concave, have entire margins and are 1-veined. The petals are twisted so they are 90 degrees from vertical. The petals are shaped narrowly oblong-elliptic and have acute or obtuse apices. The petals measure 3mm long and 1.1mm wide. The petals have minutely erose margins and are 1-veined. The labellum is entire and shaped obcuneate and apiculate at its apex. The labellum measures 2-2.1mm long and 1.9mm wide. The margins on the labellum are mostly entire but minutely erose at the apex and there are 3 nerves, the lateral nerves branch. There are 2 keels that run half the length of the labellum. The column is straight and measures 1-1.1mm long. The apical hood is acute and tridentate with an entire margin. The stelidia grow from the base of the column are shaped elliptic to oblong with obtuse apices, 0.8-0.9mm long. The stelidia are appressed to the keels.


Herbarium Specimens






Specimen 98743 (photo)





New York Botanical Garden (NY)


Specimen 8738


Kew Botanical Gardens (K)


Specimen K000078203





Other herbarium specimens


Natural History Museum (BM)


Specimen 50777

Specimen 50652

Specimen no number

Specimen 383


Kew Botanical Garden (K)


Specimen 60392.000

Specimen 51210.000

Specimen 61483.000




Sabah Parks Herbarium


National Herbarium Netherlands, Leiden (L)


Specimen L0269501






I could find no record.


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild from October to February.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species


Dendrochilum corrugatum (see this page for the differences)

Dendrochilum graciliscapum

Dendrochilum cupulatum (see this page for the differences)

Dendrochilum pseudoscriptum


Other Information


Ames wrote that the plant is 20cm high from the base of the pseudobulb to the tip of the leaf. Ames also wrote that this species resembles D. graciliscapum but differs by the large elliptical stelidia. Ames wrote that it is closest to Dendrochilum fimbriatum (Dendrochilum corrugatum) but differs by the outline of the labellum.


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this species resembles Dendrochilum graciliscapum but differs by the large elliptical stelidia that resemble the side lobes of the labellum.


The epithet refers to the large stelidia that appear winged.


Reference -


AMES, Oakes. 1920, Illustrations and studies of the Family Orchidaceae Facsimile 6 The Orchids of Mount Kinabalu British North Borneo, Ames Botanical Laboratory, North Easton, Massachusetts, Boston.


WOOD, Jeffrey. Dendrochilum of Borneo, 2001. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Malaysia.


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 12 February 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 12 February 2009.