Accepted name: Dendrochilum pterogyne Carr, Gard. Bull. Straits Settlem. 8: 236 (1935)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Eurybrachium.






Origin in the Wild




Elevation in the Wild


900-3800 metres


Habitat in the Wild


This species is endemic to Mount Kinabalu. Collections have been made at the Paka-paka Cave, Panar Laban, Kinateki River Head, Marai Parai, Gurulau Spur, the summit area, Kemburongoh, Kadamaian River below Paka-paka Cave and along the summit trail.


Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as upper montane forest on ultramafic or non-ultramafic substrates. This plant has been found in deep shade and full sunlight. This plant has mostly been recorded as an epiphyte but has been recorded as a lithophyte (Wood 2001).


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs cluster on a shortly creeping rhizome that can measure up to 5cm long. The pseudobulbs are spaced 1cm apart on the rhizome. The pseudobulbs are coloured orange, green or red, are shaped ovoid and rugulose. The pseudobulbs measure 0.8-2.2cm long and 0.5-1.2cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by three cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls soon disintegrate into non-persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 0.5-2.5cm long. The leaf blades are shaped linear-lanceolate and have acute or apiculate apices that are conduplicate. The leaf blades measure 3.5-11.5cm long and 0.6-0.8cm wide. The leaves have five distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The peduncle is gently curved to arching and measures 1.5-8cm long. The rachis is pendent and measures 3-7cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 3-4mm apart. There are 1-2 or no non-floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis.


The Flowers


Jeffrey wood wrote that between 8 and 15 flowers grow on an inflorescence. The flower is either pale yellow with pale salmon-pink tints, yellow labellum with a bright salmon-pink base and keels or entirely salmon-pink with a darker base and keels. This plant has been recorded as lemon-yellow with a darker olive-green to ochre mid-lobe apex and stelidia (Wood 2001). The sepals and petals are incurved, concave and papillose on their inner surfaces. The dorsal sepal is shaped ovate-elliptic and has an acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 5mm long and 2.5mm wide. The dorsal sepal has an entire margin and is three veined. The lateral sepals are shaped ovate, sometimes falcate and have acute or shortly apiculate apices. The lateral sepals measure 4.8mm long and 2.7mm wide. The lateral sepals have entire margins and are three veined. The petals are shaped narrowly elliptic and have acute apices. The petals measure 4.7mm long and 2.5mm wide. The petals have entire margins and are three veined. The labellum is three veined, entire, shaped ovate and has a minutely apiculate apex. The labellum measures 2.6-3.5mm long and 2.7-3mm wide. The margins on the labellum are entire and sometimes strongly recurved along the hypochile. There are two keels that are joined in a horseshoe shape at the base of the hypochile. The keels run for half the length of the labellum and along the lateral nerves. The column is narrowly oblong and measures 2mm long. The apical hood is sometimes obscurely 3-lobed and has an entire margin. The stelidia grow from the base of the column and are equal to or shorter than the column apex. The stelidia are shaped oblong-ovate and have obtuse apices; the stelidia measure 0.8mm long and 0.5mm wide.


Herbarium Specimens









New York Botanical Garden (NY)


Specimen 8734


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen K000078227 (photo)

Specimen 60739.000

Specimen K000078229 (drawing)

Specimen K000078228 (photo)




I could not locate the specimen





Other herbarium specimens


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen 61405.000

Specimen 61508.000

Specimen 61484.000

Specimen 61509.000

Specimen 61506.000


Sabah Parks Herbarium








National Herbarium Netherlands (L)

Specimen L0322703

Specimen L0322704

Specimen L0322705

Specimen L0322707

Specimen L0322708

Specimen L0322709










Flowering Season


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this plant can be found in flower at all times of the year.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species




Other Information


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this species often occurs alongside Dendrochilum alpinum although no natural hybrids have been reported (Wood 2001).


The epithet refers to the wing like stelidia.


This Dendrochilum is one the highest elevation species of orchid anywhere in the world and has been recorded as high as 3800 meters which is just over 300 meters below Kinabalu’s summit.




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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 04 March 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 04 March 2009.