Accepted name: Dendrochilum tenompokense Carr, Gard. Bull. Straits Settlem. 8: 225 (1935)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Platyclinis.






Origin in the Wild


Sabah and Sarawak


Elevation in the Wild


(var. tenompokense)


1500-2000 metres


(var. papillilabium)


1200-1800 metres


Habitat in the Wild


(var. tenompokense)


This variety is found in Sabah on Mount Kinabalu along the Memening Trail, Tenompok, Kemburongoh and on Mount Alab on the south ridge leading toward the summit.


With Sarawak this variety has been collected in the Marudi District in the Gunung Mulu National Park on the west ridge above camp 3 and along the path from sub camp 3 to sub camp 4. Further collections have been made on Batu Lawi.


Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as lower montane mossy forest, oak laurel forest, Leptospermum/Dacrydium forest which is eight metres high and on sandstone and shale on steep east facing slopes. This species prefers to grow higher in the canopy (Wood 2001).


(var. papillilabium)


This variety is found in Sabah in Beluran District at Bukit Monkobo and within the Crocker range along the Keningau to Kimanis road.


Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as lower montane forest, forest on sandstone ridges and on roadside banks with shale (Wood 2001).


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs either cluster together or are spaced up to 1.3cm apart on a branching rhizome. The rhizomes measure up to 10cm long. The pseudobulbs are shaped ovoid or oblong-elliptic and measure 0.5-1.8cm long and 0.4-1.3cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 4-5 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls disintegrate into fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 0.2-1.6cm long. The leaf blades are shaped narrowly linear-lanceolate to ligulate or oblong-elliptic and have obtuse and mucronate apices. The leaf blades measure 1.5-7.0cm long and 0.3-1.0cm wide. The leaves are thinly coriaceous to rigid and have five distinct veins along their length.


The Inflorescence


The inflorescence is synanthous and starts’ flowering before the leaf has fully expanded. The peduncle is erect to gently curved and measures 1.7-5.5cm long. The rachis is gently curved and measures 5.0-10.0cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 2.0-5.0mm apart. There are one or no non floriferous bracts at the base of the rachis. The flowers can open from the distal section of the rachis.


The Flowers


The flower colour can be either; a pale lemon yellow, pale greenish cream with a pale green labellum and column, translucent creamy white flushed with green, white, yellowish green, or pale green with a brighter green labellum (Wood 2001). The sepals and petals spread widely and sometimes have minute trichomes at their bases. The dorsal sepal is concave, shaped narrowly oblong-elliptic and has an acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 5.0-7.0mm long and 1.5-2.0mm wide. The dorsal sepal is three veined and has an entire margin. The lateral sepals are shaped oblong-elliptic or ovate-elliptic, slightly oblique and have acute to acuminate apices. The lateral sepals measure 5.0-7.0mm long and 1.5-2.1mm wide. The lateral sepals are three veined and have entire margins. The petals are sometimes slightly concave, shaped narrowly oblong to oblong-elliptic and have acute apices. The petals measure 4.3-6.9mm long and 1.6-2.2mm wide. The petals are three veined and have irregular to erose margins. The labellum is stipitate to the column foot by a short claw, decurved, three veined and shallowly 3-lobed. The labellum measures 3.1-5.1mm long and 1.5-2.0mm wide. The side lobes are shaped triangular or shallowly rounded and have obtuse to acute apices. The side lobe upper margins are minutely erose to irregularly toothed. The side lobes are usually papillose to almost papillose-hairy. The mid-lobe is shaped broadly elliptic or broadly ovate and has an obtuse to acute apex. The mid-lobe is minutely papillose.  There are two low keels that are joined at the base. The keels terminate at the middle of the labellum or just beyond the middle. The median nerve is sometimes elevated and joins the two lateral keels to form an M shape basally. The two keels are papillose, the median nerve and the basal join area is not papillose. The column is strongly incurved and measures 2.0-3.5mm long. The column foot is prominent. The apical hood is elongated, shaped oblong and has a truncate apex that has a tridentate or irregularly toothed margin. The stelidia grow upwards from the middle of the column and are equal to or slightly exceed the column apex, sometimes the stelidia are slightly shorter than the column apex. The stelidia are shaped narrowly elliptic or obliquely oblong, falcate and have obtuse to acute apices.


Herbarium Specimens




SING (var. tenompokense)


National Herbarium Netherlands (L) (var. papillilabium)


Specimen L0052486 (photo)





AMES (var. tenompokense)


Specimen 98809 (photo)


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) (var. tenompokense)

Specimen K000079136 (photo)

Specimen 60757.000


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) (var. papillilabium)


Specimen 60737.000



Other herbarium specimens


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) (var. tenompokense)


Specimen 60758.000

Specimen 61496.000

Specimen 60759.000

Specimen 54845.000

Specimen 43224.000


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) (var. papillilabium)


Specimen 60736.000

Specimen 50066.000


SAN (var. tenompokense)

SAN (var. papillilabium)


Sabah Parks Herbarium (var. tenompokense)


SING (var. tenompokense)


BM (var. tenompokense)


AMES (var. tenompokense)


I could not locate the specimen


National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


Specimen (no bar code) (var. papillilabium)

Specimen L0322792


Specimen L0322788 (var. tenompokense)

Specimen L0322789 (var. tenompokense)

Specimen L0322790 (var. tenompokense)

Specimen L0322791(var. tenompokense)


UKMS (var. tenompokense)



I could find no record


Flowering Season


(var. tenompokense)


Flowers have been collected in the wild from July to November.


(var. papillilabium)


Flowers have been collected in the wild during March, June, October and December.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species


Dendrochilum linearifolium

Dendrochilum lumakuense (see this page for the differences)

Dendrochilum magaense (see this page for the differences)


Other Information


When writing his notes Carr wrote that this species had an affinity to Dendrochilum perspicabile (Dendrochilum dewindtianum) but was much smaller. This plant is allied to Dendrochilum linearifolium (Wood 2001). D. linearifolium has a similar habit but with fewer flowers, brown keels on the labellum and stelidia that grow from the base of the column.


Dendrochilum tenompokense is a variable species. When studying material Jeffrey Wood concluded that Dendrochilum papillilabium should be considered a variety. Wood suggested leaving it as a variety until more material could be examined (Wood 2001).


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this species superficially resembles broad leaved forms of Dendrochilum linearifolium (Wood 1997).


Below are copies of Jeffrey Wood’s key to the two varieties (Wood 2001).


Leaves narrowly linear-lanceolate to ligulate, 0.3-0.8cm wide. Lower margin of stigmatic cavity usually swollen and elevate, bilobed. Labellum minutely papillose proximally, median nerve between keels elevate to varying degrees. Sepals and petals glabrous................................................................ var. tenompokense


Leaves oblong-elliptic, 0.6-1.0cm wide. Lower margin of stigmatic cavity developed into a prominent bilobed flange. Labellum often densely papillose to almost papillose hairy proximally, median nerve between keels not elevate. Sepals and petals with a few brown ramentaceous trichomes at the base.........................var. papillilabium


The epithet refers to the type locality. The epithet of var. papillilabium refers to the papillae on the labellum.




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. 1997, Orchids of Borneo volume 3. The Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.


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


World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 24 July 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 24 July 2009.