Accepted name: Dendrochilum cupulatum J.J.Wood in J.J.Wood & P.J.Cribb, Check-list Orchids Borneo: 171 (1994).

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Eurybrachium.






Origin in the Wild


Sabah and Sarawak


Elevation in the Wild


1200-2100 metres

(1600-2100 metres within Sarawak)


Habitat in the Wild


The type specimen was collected above camp 4 within the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak. Further specimens have been collected from around camp 4 and on the southern summit of Mount Mulu. This species has also been collected from the Hose Mountains on the ridge leading to Batu Hill.


Within Sabah this species has been collected in the Crocker Range along the Kimanis to Keningau road and Ranau.


Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as upper montane mossy ridge forest up to 25 meters high on sandstone and ridge top scrub. Wood also wrote that it is often found in exposed places (Wood 2001).


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs clump on a creeping rhizome. The pseudobulbs are shaped cylindrical or elliptic and are spaced 0.3-2.4cm apart. The pseudobulbs measure 0.9-2.3cm long and 0.4-0.8cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 3 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls disintegrate into non-persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 0.1-0.5cm long. The leaf blades are shaped linear-ligulate with apiculate apices. The leaf blades are conduplicate at their base and slightly carinate at their apices. The leaf blades measure 4-10cm long and 0.4-0.5cm wide.


The Inflorescence


The peduncle is erect and measures 1.5-3cm long. The rachis is erect and measures 6-14cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 1mm apart. The rachis and peduncle are a greenish yellow colour. There is 1 non-floriferous bract at the base of the rachis.


The Flowers


The flower colour can be either greenish-yellow or pale green and with a brighter green labellum or the flower can be white with a greenish-white labellum. The calli are often bright green and the anther cap is pale brown. The sepals and petals spread widely. The dorsal sepal is shaped ovate-elliptic and has an acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 2mm long and 1mm wide. The dorsal sepal has entire margins and is 3-veined. The lateral sepals are shaped ovate-elliptic and have acute apices. The lateral sepals measure 2mm long and 1mm wide. The lateral sepals have entire margins and are 1-veined. The petals are shaped ovate-elliptic and have acute apices. The petals measure 1.6-1.7mm long and 0.8-0.9mm wide. The petals have entire margins and are 1-veined. The labellum is entire and concave at its base. The labellum measures 1.1mm long and 1.5-1.6mm wide. The labellum is shaped broadly ovate and cupulate and has an apiculate apex. The margins on the labellum are entire. There are 3 longitudal nerves that run along the length of the labellum. There are 2 small calli located in the centre of the disc along the lateral nerves. The column measures 0.2mm long is shaped cuneate and has a truncate apex. The stelidia grow from the base of the column are shaped oblong and have truncate apices. The stelidia measure 1-1.1mm long. The stelidia exceed the apical hood.


Herbarium Specimens




Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen K000078208 (photo)








Other herbarium specimens


Royal Botanic gardens, Kew (K)


Specimen 40474.000

Specimen 61406.000

Specimen 60408.000

Specimen 42087.000

Specimen 61490.000








National Herbarium Netherlands (L)


I could not locate the specimen






Yes, a slight spicy scent or a strong honey scent.


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild from March to April and during December and January.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species


Dendrochilum alatum

Dendrochilum corrugatum

Dendrochilum sublobatum


Other Information


Jeffrey Wood wrote that this species is probably most closely related to Dendrochilum corrugatum but differs by its spaced pseudobulbs, linear-ligulate leaves and smaller flowers. The flowers of Dendrochilum cupulatum differ from D. corrugatum by a smaller dorsal sepal, entire petals, strongly concave and cupulate labellum.


This species also differs from Dendrochilum alatum by its spaced pseudobulbs, denser inflorescence, smaller flowers, entire petals, strongly concave and cupulate labellum.


Jeffrey Wood wrote that the flowers look very similar to Dendrochilum sublobatum but differs by the wider spaced pseudobulbs and shorter leaves. The flowers of Dendrochilum sublobatum have a slightly lobed labellum that is shaped ovate-acuminate. The labellum is decurved and has a large horseshoe shaped callus. The column has a better defined apical hood.


The epithet refers to the cup like labellum.




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


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. 23 February 2009. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; accessed 23 February 2009.