Accepted name: Dendrochilum rufum (Rolfe) J.J.Sm., Recueil Trav. Bot. Néerl. 1: 76 (1904).

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Mammosa.




Platyclinis rufa Rolfe, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1898: 192 (1898).

Acoridium rufum (Rolfe) Rolfe, Orchid Rev. 12: 220 (1904).


Origin in the Wild




Elevation in the Wild


200-910 metres


Habitat in the Wild


This species has been collected from the upper Ensirieng River in the Lanjak Entimau Protected Forest, Julau District.


The recorded habitat is primary dipterocarp forest.


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs are crowded along the rhizome and shaped ovoid-oblong to ovoid. The pseudobulbs measure 1-1.2cm long and 0.3-0.4cm in diameter. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 2-2.5cm long. The leaf blades are shaped linear ligulate and have acute apices. The leaf blades measure 14.5-22cm long and 0.8-0.9cm wide. The leaves are thin textured and have five distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The peduncle is curved to pendent and measures 15.5-16cm long. The rachis is curved to pendent and measures 3-5cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section and often zig-zag. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 2.0-2.5mm apart. There are 1-3 non-floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis.


The Flowers


Jeffrey Wood wrote that between 8 and 22 flowers grow on an inflorescence (Wood 2001). The flowers are dull reddish-brown or dull red. The labellum has paler margins; the disc is green and keels dark reddish-brown. The column is orange-red and the anther cap is pale yellow. The sepals are concave and the petals slightly concave. The dorsal sepal is shaped ovate-elliptic and has an acute to shortly acuminate apex. The dorsal sepal measures 3.1-4.8mm long and 1.8-1.9mm wide. The dorsal sepal has an entire margin and is three veined. The lateral sepals are shaped slightly obliquely ovate-elliptic and have shortly acuminate apices. The lateral sepals measure 3.1-4.8mm long and 2mm wide. The lateral sepals have entire margins and are three veined. The petals are shaped oblong-elliptic and have acute to shortly acuminate apices. The petals measure 3.4-3.5mm long and 1.5-1.6mm wide. The petals have slightly erose margins and are three veined. The labellum is 3-lobed, 3-nerved and measures 2.1-3.5mm long. The side lobes are auriculate, erect to spreading and shaped semi-circular. The mid-lobe is shaped broadly oblong-ovate and has a rounded apex that is strongly recurved and sometimes shortly apiculate. The margins are minutely erose to serrulate. There are two fleshy calli at the base of the side lobes; the calli come close to touching in the middle of the disc. The calli are uneven and warty. The column is straight to slightly curved measuring 2-2.1mm long. The column foot is short but noticeable. The apical hood is shaped ovate and has a rounded apex. The apical hood has an entire or irregular margin. The stelidia grow from the middle of the column, are wing like and always terminate below the apical hood. The stelidia are very small and shaped triangular or bifid.


Herbarium Specimens




Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen K000078262 (photo)

Specimen K000078264 (photo)

Specimen K000078265 (photo – same as above)








Other herbarium specimens


National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


I could not locate the specimen


Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (K)


Specimen K000078266 (drawing)

Specimen 60747.000

Specimen 60745.000

Specimen 60743.000

Specimen 60746.000

Specimen 60744.000




I could find no record.


Flowering Season


This plant has flowered in cultivation at Glasnevin from December to February. Flowering plants have been collected in the wild during November.




I do not think this species is in general cultivation. This species was in cultivation is Glasnevin in Dublin during the 19th century, I am unsure if it is still cultivated there.


This species would need to be grown warmer than many other Dendrochilum.


Similar Species


Dendrochilum kingii var kingii (please visit this page for differences)

Dendrochilum kingie var tenuichilum (please visit this page for differences)

Dendrochilum saccatum


Other Information


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this species differs from Dendrochilum saccatum because if its short pedicel and ovary, less saccate hypochile and shorter epichile. Jeffery Wood wrote that this species is closer to Dendrochilum saccatum than to Dendrochilum kingii.


Until recently this species was only known from cultivated material. This species was in cultivation is Glasnevin in Dublin during the 19th centaury, I am unsure if it is still cultivated there, the origins of this material were unknown. Recent collections from Sarawak and the subsequent flowering of these at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden have confirmed a location.


The epithet refers to the flower colour.




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


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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 25 April 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 25 April 2009.