Accepted name: Dendrochilum acuiferum Carr, Gard. Bull. Straits Settlem. 8: 227 (1935)

Subgenus – Platyclinis. Section – Eurybrachium.







Origin in the Wild




Elevation in the Wild


2950-3000 metres


Habitat in the Wild


This Mount Kinabalu endemic has been collected near the Paka-paka cave. Jeffrey Wood described the habitat as dwarf scrub of Leptospermum recurvum and open rocky places. This species is mostly restricted to ultramafic substrate. Jeffrey Wood wrote that it is not as common as Dendrochilum grandiflorum and Dendrochilum stachyodes (Wood 2001).


The Plants Description


The pseudobulbs cluster on a creeping and branching rhizome that grows to 8cm long. The pseudobulbs are coloured orange, shaped cylindrical to narrowly ovoid and borne at an acute angle to the rhizome. The pseudobulbs measure 1.6-4.2cm long and 0.3-0.5cm in diameter. The pseudobulbs are covered by 3 cataphylls while they are growing. The cataphylls soon disintegrate into persistent fibres as the pseudobulbs mature. The leaves are petiolate; the petiole measures 1.2-3.0cm long. The leaf blades are shaped narrowly oblong-elliptic or oblong-lanceolate with acute apices. The leaf blades measure 10.5-11cm long and 0.8-1.3cm wide. The leaves are dark-green and have 5 distinct nerves.


The Inflorescence


The peduncle is erect to slightly curved and measures 8.5-14.0cm long. The rachis is curved to nodding and measures 5-8cm long. The rachis is quadrangular in cross-section. The flowers alternate distichously and are spaced 3-5mm apart. There is 1 non-floriferous bract at the base of the rachis. The flowers open from the proximal section of the rachis.


The Flowers


Between 10 and 18 flowers grow on an inflorescence. The sepals and petals are either a creamy, pale yellow or pale salmon colour. The labellum is cream or pale yellow suffused with pale salmon-pink at its apex. The keels are white and the nerves are a peach colour. The column and anther cap are pale salmon-pink. The dorsal sepal is shaped narrowly elliptic with an acute apex. The dorsal sepal measures 7-8mm long and 2mm wide. The dorsal sepal has entire margins and is 3-veined. The lateral sepals are shaped obliquely narrowly-elliptic and subfalcate with acute apices. The lateral sepals measure 6.5-7mm long and 2.0-2.3mm wide. The laterals have entire margins and are 3-veined. The petals are shaped narrowly elliptic and have acute apices. The petals measure 5.7-6.5mm long and 1.9-2.0mm wide. The petals have slightly erose margins on their upper half and are 3 veined. The labellum is 3-lobed. The labellum is shortly clawed and 3-lobed. The side lobes are short and are rounded or subtruncate. The mid-lobe is shaped ovate or transversely elliptic with shortly acuminate or acute apices. The margins are minutely erose. The labellum measures 4.7-5.1mm long and 3.5-3.8mm wide. There are 2 keels that terminate at the base of the mid-lobe; the keels are joined at the hypochile base by a bilobed shaped swelling. The column gently curves and is 1.7-2.3mm long. The apical hood is broadly rounded or subtruncate with entire margins. The stelidia grow from the base of the column and are shaped linear with acute apices. The stelidia measure 1-1.1mm long and do not exceed the column apex but reach the rostellum.


Herbarium Specimens









Kew Botanic Gardens (K)


Specimen K000078200

Specimen K000078202

Specimen 60393.000

Specimen K000078199

Specimen K000078201


National Herbarium Netherlands, Leiden (L)


Specimen L0003775




I could not locate the specimen





Yes, a faint sweet scent.


Flowering Season


Flowering plants have been collected in the wild during June.




I do not think this species is in cultivation


Similar Species




Other Information


Todd Barkman wrote that this plant has evolved from its parents Dendrochilum grandiflorum and Dendrochilum stachyodes. Barkman undertook a molecular study to confirm that Dendrochilum acuiferum was a natural hybrid between the 2 species. Barkman wrote that Dendrochilum acuiferum should be considered a species in its own right because it can reproduce sexually and is somewhat divergent from its parents. Dendrochilum acuiferum is found in close proximity to these two species.


The epithet refers to the acuminate mid-lobe of the labellum.




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


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