Accepted name: Dendrochilum lacteum Carr, Gard. Bull. Straits Settlem. 8: 223 (1935)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Platyclinis.






Origin in the Wild


Sabah and Sarawak


Elevation in the Wild


1400-2000 metres

1200 metres in Sarawak


Habitat in the Wild


Within Sabah this species has been found on Mount Kinabalu and Mount Alab.


Within Sarawak this species has been collected on Mount Pueh.


The habitat has been described as lower montane forest up to 35 metres high and with little undergrowth. Also found on sloping gravels with sandstone, ultramafic and dioritic rock, ridges on sandstone and shale.


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs are crowded along branching rhizomes; the rhizomes measure up to 4cm long. The pseudobulbs are shaped narrowly ovoid, fusiform or ovoid and measure 1.2-5.5cm long and 0.4-1.2cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 3 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls disintegrate into fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 0.5-2.0cm long. The leaf blades are shaped narrowly-elliptic to elliptic and have obtuse to acute apices. The leaf blades measure 2.3-18.5cm long and 1.0-3.3cm wide. The leaves have 7-9 distinct nerves along their length, undulated margins and are often flushed red particularly when immature.


The Inflorescence


The inflorescence is synanthous. The peduncle is arching to pendent and measures 2.0-9.0cm long. The rachis is pendent and measures 8.0-20.0cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section and a pinkish colour. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 4.0-5.0mm apart. There are 1-6 non floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis. The flowers open from the proximal section of the rachis.


The Flowers


The sepals and petals are yellowish cream or translucent cream often suffused pale salmon-pink down their middle at their bases. The labellum is cream, the mid-lobe has a brownish pink centre or median line, its base and keels are pale salmon pink. The column is pale salmon pink, the stelidia are pale salmon pink or yellowish cream (Wood 2001). The dorsal sepal is shaped narrowly elliptic and has an acute apex.  The dorsal sepal measures 5.7-7.0mm long and 2.2-2.7mm wide. The dorsal sepal is three veined and has an entire margin. The lateral sepals are shaped oblong-elliptic, slightly oblique and have acute apices. The lateral sepals measure 5.5-7.0mm long and 2.2-2.7mm wide. The lateral sepals are three veined and have entire margins. The petals are shaped oblong-elliptic and have acute apices. The petals measure 4.5-6.7mm long and 2.0-2.3mm wide. The petals are three veined and have minutely erose margins. The labellum is shortly stipitate to the column foot by a small claw, minutely papillose and 3-lobed. The labellum measures 4.5-6.0mm long when it’s flattened. The side lobes are shaped triangular and have acute apices. The side lobes outer margins are irregularly erose-denticulate. The mid-lobe is shaped obovate or suborbicular and has an obtuse apex that is often retuse and apiculate. There are two incurved, papillose keels that are incurved and joined at the base. There is a short, elevated median nerve that joins the keels basally to form an M shape. The keels terminate at the base of the mid-lobe. The column is slightly incurved and measures 3.5-4.3mm long. The column foot is small. The apical hood is elongated, shaped oblong and has an uneven margin. The stelidia grow upwards and outwards from the base of the column and do not reach the column apex but reach the rostellum. The stelidia are shaped oblong-elliptic or narrowly-elliptic and have acute apices. The stelidia measure 1.8-2.0mm long.


Herbarium Specimens









Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen K000079121 (photo)

Specimen K000079122 (photo)




Specimen 98776 (photo)





Other herbarium specimens


Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen 48045.000

Specimen 61499.000

Specimen 50198.000


National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


Specimen L0322574

Specimen L0322575










I could find no record


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild during March, May, July and September and October.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species


Dendrochilum longirachis

Dendrochilum imitator (see this page for the differences)


Other Information


Carr wrote that this species is similar to Dendrochilum longirachis but differs by its larger flowers and different shaped labellum.


The epithet refers to the milky colour of the flowers.




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


CARR, C.E. 1935, Gardeners. Bulletin. Straits Settlem. 8: 235


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.