Accepted name: Dendrochilum pallidiflavens Blume, Bijdr.: 399 (1825).

Subgenus – Dendrochilum.


This photo was taken by Peter O'Byrne and is reproduced courtesy of Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium, Jany Renz.

The photo is of a plant from the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.




Bulbophyllum pteriphilum Rolfe, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1894: 391 (1894).

Dendrochilum conopseum Ridl. ex Stapf, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 4: 336 (1894).

Dendrochilum album Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 32: 287 (1896).

Dendrochilum ellipticum Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 39: 77 (1899).

Dendrochilum micranthum Schltr., Bull. Herb. Boissier, II, 6: 303 (1906).

Dendrochilum pteriphilum (Rolfe) Pfitzer in H.G.A.Engler (ed.), Pflanzenr., IV, 50 II B 7: 89 (1907).

Dendrochilum intermedium Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 50: 135 (1908).

Dendrochilum spathulatum Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 50: 134 (1908).

Dendrochilum weberi Ames, Philipp. J. Sci., C 8: 410 (1913 publ. 1914).

Dendrobium ridleyi Ames, J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc., Spec. No.: 164 (1921).

Dendrochilum bulbophylloides Schltr., Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 8: 16 (1921).

Dendrochilum brevilabratum var. petiolatum J.J.Wood, Kew Bull. 39: 78 (1984).


Origin in the Wild





Malaysia Peninsula








Samar Island


Tawi Tawi Islands.


Elevation in the Wild


Sea level - 1,800 metres


Jim Cootes 80-1400 metres

Jeffrey Wood - Near sea level to 1,700 metres

Henrik Pedersen - Sea level-660 metres

Jim Comber (Java) - 400-1400 metres


Thailand - 50-300 metres

Brunei - 55-200 metres

Sarawak 150-220 metres

Sabah - 1676 metres

Mindanao - 76 metres


Habitat in the Wild


This species is widespread and prefers lower elevations than other Dendrochilum in subgenus Dendrochilum. This species can form very big clumps that hang off of trees in high rainfall lowland and montane rainforest. At higher elevations this species has been found growing amongst or on rocks. In the Philippines this species has been found growing in mangroves. On Borneo this species can be found in dipterocarp forest, hill forest on limestone and sandstone, and wet kerangas forest and many other types of forests on a variety of substrates (Wood 2001).


Jim Comber wrote (Comber 2001) that he did not see this species on the Sumatran mainland; however Comber wrote that Dendrochilum spathulatum was collected from Siak on the east coast of Sumatra. Dendrochilum spathulatum has been reduced to a synonym of Dendrochilum pallidiflavens since the Orchids of Sumatra was written. Herbarium specimens indicate that plants have been collected in Gunung Boei, Pantjar, Pakanbaru in Riau Province and Gunung Mangkol.


In the Philippines this species has been recorded on Mindanao at Lipay and Samar Island on Mount Sohoton.


In Java this species has been collected in Tjadas-Malang, Gunung Paniisan and Gunung Halimun. Jim Comber wrote that this species is less common than Dendrochilum aurantiacum (Comber 1990).


In Thailand this species has been collected from Kaw Pu, Krabi where it was growing on a tree in evergreen forest. It has also been collected at Ban Na, Surat


This species has been collected in Sarawak in the Marud District and the Kuching District on Mount Matang, within the Gunung Mulu National Park, Mount Dulit and in the Kelabit Highlands.


In Brunei this species has been collected in the Belait and Temburong Districts, east of the village Selapon along the banks of the river. Further collections have been along the Belalong and Temburong Rivers.


In Sabah this species has been collected on Mount Kinabalu and in the Crocker Range.


In Kalimantan this species has been collected in the Mount Palung National Park and on Mount Njapa and many other locations.


On Peninsula Malaysia this species has been collected from Robinson Falls in the Cameron Highlands, other herbarium specimens have been collected from Johore, Selengor, and Perak.


In Singapore this species has been found at Sembawang.


The Plants Description


The rhizome is long, creeping and can branch; the pseudobulbs are spaced 1.0-7.5cm apart. The pseudobulbs are shaped conical to cylindrical, fusiform-terete (Pedersen 1997). The pseudobulbs measure 1.5-5.2cm long and 0.3-0.5cm in diameter, the pseudobulbs are wider in their middle than at their ends. The pseudobulb colour can vary from green, yellowish-green yellow to reddish-brown. The pseudobulbs are covered by 3-7 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls soon disintegrate into non-persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaf is petiolate; the petiole measures 0.1-0.8cm long. The leaf blades range in shape and can be lanceolate, linear-lanceolate, narrowly elliptic, oblong-elliptic and have apices that are obtuse or acute. The leaf blade length Jim Comber provided is 13cm long and 2.5cm wide. Jim Cootes provided; 12.5cm long and 2.5cm wide. Singapore plants are 13.5cm long and 3.5cm wide. Henrik Pedersen described the leaf length as 5.3-11.8cm long and 0.8-2.1cm wide. The leaves are thin textured and have 7-9 distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The inflorescence is heteranthus and emerges from the base of a pseudobulb and does not develop into a new growth. The inflorescence is usually erect but can arch. The inflorescence measures 12.5-15cm long. The peduncle is virtually non-existent, Pedersen described its length as 0.4-1.4cm long (Pedersen 1997). The rachis measures 2.5-13.0cm long. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 2.0-3.0mm apart. There are no non-floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis. Flowers open from the proximal section of the rachis.


The Flowers


The flowers open widely and the colours vary, the colours I have seen or read about are; white with a greenish tinge, white, greenish-white and yellow. Up to 50 flowers have been recorded growing on one inflorescence, the flower measures approximately 6mm across. The dorsal sepal is shaped linear and has an obtuse to acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 3.7-5.3mm long and 0.9-1.2mm wide. The dorsal sepal is three veined and has a quite entire margin. The lateral sepals are shaped linear and have obtuse to acute apices. The lateral sepals measure 3.3-4.9mm long and 1.0-1.2mm wide. The lateral sepals are three veined and have quite entire margins. The petals are shaped linear-oblanceolate and have obtuse apices. The petals measure 3.1-4.4mm long and 0.8-1.2mm wide. The petals are three veined and have quite entire margins. The labellum is easily versatile, pendent, gradually recurved and entire. The labellum is shaped pandurate-oblong, broadly elliptic to ovate and has a rounded to obtuse apex which is finely apiculate in its centre and often somewhat recurved. The labellum measures 1.3-4.4mm long and 0.7-2.8mm wide. The labellum is finely papillose; three veined and has an entire margin. There are two small keels located along the lateral nerves, the keels grow from the base and terminate at the middle of the labellum. The column is suberect, somewhat incurved and measures 1.5-2.1mm long. The apical hood is prolonged into an acute to deeply emarginate apex. The stelidia grow upwards from the middle of the column and are either shorter, equal to or slightly exceed the apical hood. The stelidia are shaped narrowly linear-triangular, obliquely-oblong and have rounded, acute or obtuse apices.


Herbarium Specimens




National Herbarium Netherlands, Leiden (L)


Specimen L0058482 (photo)


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen K000078156 (photo) (Dendrochilum brevilabratum var. petiolatum)




Specimen 18885 (photo) (Dendrochilum weberi)



Unknown type material


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen K000364556 (photo)

Specimen K000078162







Specimen 18854 (photo) (Dendrochilum weberi) (Isolectotype)


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen 42128.000 (Dendrochilum brevilabratum var. petiolatum)

Specimen K000078166

Specimen K000078158 (photo) (Dendrochilum brevilabratum var. petiolatum)

Specimen K000078160 (photo) (Dendrochilum intermedium)

Specimen K000078164 (drawing)

Specimen K000078163 (photocopy of FI drawing)

Specimen K000078157 (photo) (Dendrochilum brevilabratum var. petiolatum)



Other herbarium specimens


National Herbarium Netherlands, Leiden (L)


Specimen L0269502 (Dendrochilum album)

Specimen L0269503 (Dendrochilum album)

Specimen L0052532 (photo) (Isotype of Dendrochilum bulbophylloides)

Specimen L0322471 (Dendrochilum ellipticum)

Specimen L0269688

Specimen L0269689

Specimen L0269690

Specimen L0269691

Specimen L0269692

Specimen L0269693

Specimen L0269694

Specimen L0269695

Specimen L0269696

Specimen L0269697

Specimen L0269698

Specimen L0269699

Specimen L0322655

Specimen L0322656

Specimen L0322657

Specimen L0322659

Specimen L0322660

Specimen L0322661

Specimen L0322662

Specimen L0322663

Specimen L0322664

Specimen L0322665

Specimen L0322666

Specimen L0322667

Specimen L0322668

Specimen L0322669

Specimen L0322670

Specimen L0322672

Specimen L0322673

Specimen L0322674

Specimen L0322675

Specimen L0322676

Specimen L0322677

Specimen L0322678

Specimen L0322679

Specimen L0322680

Specimen L0322681

Specimen L0322682

Specimen L0322683

Specimen L0322684


Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen K000078161 (photo) (holotype for Dendrochilum intermedium)

Specimen K000078159 (holotype for Dendrochilum intermedium)

Specimen 49679.000

Specimen 49633.000

Specimen 53898.000

Specimen 53392.000

Specimen 53901.000

Specimen K000079139 (photo)

Specimen K000596374

Specimen K000079140 (photo)

Specimen K000596373

Specimen K000079145 (photo)

Specimen 56212.000

Specimen 24050.000

Specimen 60735.000

Specimen K000079151 (photo)

Specimen 42802.000

Specimen 60734.000

Specimen K000078165

Specimen K000364658 (Dendrochilum spathulatum)


Natural History Museum (BM)


Specimen 32476 (Dendrochilum album)

Specimen 32098 (Dendrochilum album)

Specimen 15615 (Dendrochilum album)

Specimen no number (Dendrochilum album)




Specimen 98757 (photo) (photo of the holotype of Dendrochilum conopseum held in the Kuching Museum Sarawak)

Specimen 98785 (photo) (drawing of the type of Dendrochilum micranthum)




This species can have a very sweet scent but can also be unscented.


Flowering Season


In cultivation this species flowers during the early part of spring.


In the Philippines flowering specimens have been collected in the wild during March and from July to September.


On Samar this species has been collected in flower during April.


On Mindanao this species has been collected in flower during February and June.


In Thailand this plant has been collected in flower during February, April and September.


On Sumatra this species has been collected in flower from August to October.


On Java this species has been collected in flower during February, March, May, June, July (Blume 1825), August, October and November.


In Peninsula Malaysia this species has been collected in flower during March, April and October.


In Sarawak this species has been collected in flower during March, April, August, September, October and December.


In Sabah this species has been collected in flower during February, March, April, May, June and October.


In Kalimantan this species has been collected in flower during January and from July to September.


In Brunei this species has been collected in flower from May to July.




This species is in cultivation and although I haven't grown any species from sub genus Dendrochilum all accounts say that this species should be mounted. This plant should never be allowed to dehydrate and moss around the roots will help avoid this. This plant can be grown warm and intermediate in brighter light than some other Dendrochilum.


I have not heard of this species being grown indoors and would worry that humidity and air movement would not be sufficient if it was. If this species is grown in a greenhouse place it in a very humid position where it won't dry out.


Similar Species


Dendrochilum crassum

Dendrochilum brevilabre (see this page for the differences)

Dendrochilum devoogdii (see this page for the differences)

Dendrochilum gravenhorstii

Dendrochilum wichersii (see this page for the differences)


Additional Comments


This species is varied over its range and because of this many species have been described that are now considered to be synonyms.


The number of keels on the labellum is a way to distinguish var pallidiflavens from var brevilabratum and var oblongum. Var oblongum has an oblong or ovate oblong shaped labellum and 3 keels. Var brevilabratum has 3 keels.


Philippine specimens of this species were thought to be an endemic species, Dendrochilum weberi and this was reduced to a synonym of Dendrochilum pallidiflavens by Henrik Pedersen in 1997.


The epithet refers to the pale coloured flowers.


Reference -


AMES, Oakes. 1905, Illustrations and studies of the Family Orchidaceae Facsimile 1, Ames Botanical Laboratory, North Easton, Massachusetts, Boston.


BLUME,  C.L. 1825, Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandsch Indië,


COMBER, J.B. Orchids of Java, 1990, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK


COMBER, J.B. Orchids of Sumatra, 2001, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew


COOTES, Jim. The Orchids of the Philippines, 2001. Timber Press, USA


COOTES, Jim. BANKS, David. 1995, The genus Dendrochilum a guide to the species in cultivation, Orchids Australia, AOC


HSUAN KENG, S.C. CHIN, Tan, Chin & H.T.W. 1998, The Concise Flora of Singapore, Volume II Monocotyledons, Singapore University Press, Singapore.


O'BYRNE, Peter. 2001, An A to Z of South East Asian Orchids, The Orchid Review Vol 109 n 1241, Sept-Oct p280-285


PEDERSEN, Henrik. 1995, Thirteen new species of Dendrochilum (Orchidaceae), a new record from Burma, and a checklist of the genus in East Malesia. Nord. J. Bot 15:381-402. Copenhagen, Denmark.


PEDERSEN, Henrik. 1997, The Genus Dendrochilum (Orchidaceae) in the Philippines - A Taxonomic Revision. Opera Botanica, Denmark


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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 23 August 2008. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 23 August 2008.