Accepted name: Dendrochilum imitator J.J.Wood in J.J.Wood & P.J.Cribb, Check-list Orchids Borneo: 179 (1994)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Platyclinis.






Origin in the Wild


Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak


Elevation in the Wild


1300-1500 metres


Habitat in the Wild


Within Sarawak this species has been collected in the Gunung Mulu National Park along the northwest ridge of Mount Tamacu. Within Sabah this species has been collected within the Sipitang District along the Maga River where it joins the Long Pa Sia River and along the trail from Long Pa Sia to Long Semado. In Brunei this species has been collected on Mount Pagon at 1300 metres.


Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as “on tree trunks in dry, rather low and open ridge forest on soil probably derived from sandstone and shale, with small open patches of grass and Gleichenia spp.; epiphytic on branches overhanging water in dense primary riverine forest up to 30 metres high on soil derived from sandstone; open podsol forest; low stature forest on ultramafic substrate” (Wood 2001).


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs crowd along a rhizome that branches and grows to 18cm long. The pseudobulbs are shaped narrowly cylindrical to narrowly fusiform. The pseudobulbs measure 1.2-3.5cm long and 0.2-0.3cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 2-3 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls disintegrate into persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 3-6mm long. The leaf blades are shaped narrowly elliptic and have acute apices. The leaf blades measure 4-10cm long and 0.8-1.4cm wide. The leaves are thin textured and have 5 distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The inflorescence is synanthous. The peduncle is pendent and measures 4.5-9cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross section, pendent and measures 2.5-10.5cm long. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 3-5mm apart. There are 1-2 non-floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis.


The Flowers


Jeffrey Wood wrote that between 6 and 20 flowers can grow on an inflorescence (Wood 2001). Wood also wrote that the flowers are coloured pale green, dull pale greenish brown or reddish tan. The labellum is white with a central brownish blotch or white with yellow brown lateral keels and a green median one. The dorsal sepal is shaped oblong-elliptic and has an acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 4.5-5.0mm long and 1.0-1.2mm wide. The dorsal sepal is concave, often reflexed, has an entire margin and is three veined. The lateral sepals are shaped slightly obliquely ovate-elliptic and have acute apices that are reflexed. The lateral sepals measure 4.0-4.5mm long and 1.5-1.9mm wide. The lateral sepals have entire margins and are three veined. The petals are shaped ligulate and have subacute, slightly falcate apices. The petals measure 4.0-5.0mm long and 0.9-1.0mm wide. The petals are three veined and have entire margins. The labellum is 3-lobed, stipitate to the column foot by a narrow claw, three veined and minutely papillose. The labellum measures 3.2-4.0mm long and 1.6-2.1mm wide. The side lobes are shaped triangular and have acute apices. The side lobes are mostly found with entire margins however the upper margin can be irregularly erose. The mid-lobe is shaped obovate and has a rounded to subtruncate apex, sometimes with a small mucro. The mid-lobe margins are entire. There are three keels that run from the base of the hypochile and terminate close to the apex of the mid-lobe; the keels are joined at the base. The keels are papillose. The median keel is broadest at the base, it narrows at its centre and is more pronounced near its apex. The median keel is longer than the two lateral keels. The column is curved and measures 3.5mm long. The column foot is prominent. The apical hood is shaped ovate-flabellate, cucullate (hooded) and has a reflexed and often slightly uneven apex. The stelidia grow upwards from just above the base of the column, do not reach the apex of the apical hood but slightly exceed the anther cap. The stelidia measure 1.5mm long, are shaped ligulate or narrowly oblong and have bifid apices.


Herbarium Specimens




National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


Specimen L0052490




Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen 60714.000


Other herbarium specimens




Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen 60704.000

Specimen 60712.000

Specimen 40475.000

Specimen 60713.000


National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


Specimen L0269615

Specimen L0269616




I could find no record


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild during January, May, June, October and December.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species


Dendrochilum lacteum


Other Information


Jeffrey Wood wrote (2001) that this species differs from Dendrochilum lacteum by the more spotted cataphylls, smaller flowers with a longer pedicel and ovary, acute rather than acuminate sepals and petals, shorter and narrower petals and sepals, reflexed lateral sepals, more pronounced median keel and bifid stelidia.


The epithet refers to the close resemblance to Dendrochilum lacteum.




BEAMAN, Teofila, WOOD, Jeffrey, BEAMAN, Reed, BEAMAN, John. 2001, Orchids of Sarawak, Natural History Publications Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.


WOOD, Jeffrey. 1997, Orchids of Borneo volume 3. The Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.


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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 23 July 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 23 July 2009.