Accepted name: Dendrochilum pulcherrimum (Ames) L.O.Williams, Philipp. J. Sci. 80: 311 (1952)

Subgenus – Acoridium. Section – Heterantha.




Acoridium pulcherrimum Ames, Orchidaceae 7: 144 (1922).


Origin in the Wild




Elevation in the Wild


1750 – 1830 metres


Habitat in the Wild


This Dendrochilum is endemic to Luzon where it has been collected in Benguet Province on Mount Natoo and in Ifugao Province on Mount Polis. This species has been recorded as an epiphyte of mossy forest; it lives with other Dendrochilum and carnivorous plants such as Nepenthes. The cloud forest terrain has trees, rocks and ground covered with moss, lichen and ferns. This species in particular can be found in lighter areas at the ends of branches; however the fog and cloud can restrict the amount of light. 


The Plants Description


This is a small and tufted species. The pseudobulbs cluster along short rhizome. The pseudobulbs are shaped fusiform to slenderly ellipsoid and measure 1.5-4.6cm long and 0.3-0.8cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 4-5 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls disintegrate into persistent fibres when the pseudobulbs mature.  The leaves are conduplicate and petiolate; the petiole measures 0.2-1.3cm long.  The leaf blades are shaped linear-lanceolate and have acute to obtuse apices. The leaf blades measure 5.9-10.7cm long and 1-1.9cm wide. There are three distinct nerves on each leaf; the two outermost nerves are marginal.


The Inflorescence


The inflorescence is heteranthous. The peduncle is suberect to curved and measures 2.0-10.1cm long. The rachis is pendent and measures 2.9-8.7cm long. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 1-2mm part. There are one or two non-floriferous bracts. The flowers open from the proximal section of the rachis.


The Flowers


The flowers are yellow or orange and open widely, the labellum is a deeper orange colour. Up to 50 flowers have been noted growing on one inflorescence (Cootes 2001). The dorsal sepal is shaped oblong and has an obtuse apex. The dorsal sepal measures 4.2-4.3mm long and 1.4-1.5mm wide. The dorsal sepal has an entire margin and is three veined. The lateral sepals are shaped oblong-elliptic and have sub-acute apices. The lateral sepals measure 4.8-4.9mm long and 1.8-1.9mm wide. The lateral sepals have entire margins and three veined. The petals are shaped oblanceolate-spathulate and have obtuse apices. The petals measure 3.6-3.9mm long and c1.6mm wide. The petals are three veined and have erose-fimbriate margins. The labellum is porrect and 3-lobed, glabrous and obscurely 3-veined. The labellum measures 1.9-2mm long and 1.7-1.9mm wide.  The margins are entire; the lateral margins incurve. There are two calli at the base of each side lobe. The side lobes are shaped linear and have subacute to obtuse apices and are somewhat sigmoid; the side lobes exceed the mid lobe.  The mid-lobe is shaped semiorbicular and has a rounded apex. The column measures 0.9-1mm long and does not have an apical hood. The anther cap is broadly elliptic from the upper view and rounded from the front.


Herbarium Specimens






Specimen 49 (photo)





New York Botanical Garden (NY)


Specimen 39530 (photo)



Other herbarium specimens


Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen 74037.000

Specimen 62579.000




No, although a Kew specimen states that it has a faint honey scent.


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild during February, September and December. In European cultivation this species flowers during winter and spring. Plants in Australian cultivation flower during the winter (Cootes et al 1995).




This species is in cultivation globally, I have seen plants in the USA, Australia and the European Union. This species is often confused with D. smithianum and many plants are incorrectly labelled. I have noticed an orchid seller from the United States of America has been stating this species is synonymous with Dendrochilum smithianum. I do not know where there claims have come from and attempts to contact the nursery have been unsuccessful.


Similar Species


Dendrochilum smithianum (see this page for the differences)


Other Information


Ames originally described this plant as Acoridium pulcherrimum and made comparisons with Dendrochilum microchilum and Dendrochilum philippinense. Ames wrote that there were no near allies of this species.


The epithet makes reference to the beautiful nature of the plant.




AMES, Oakes. 1922, Illustrations and studies of the Family Orchidaceae Facsimile 7 Pogonia and its Allies in the North Eastern United States and Other Papers, Ames Botanical Laboratory, North Easton, Massachusetts, Boston.


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


MCQUEEN, Jim and Barbara. 1993, Miniature Orchids, American Orchid Society, USA


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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 20 October 2008. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 20 October 2008.