Dendrobium Orchids: An Amazingly Diverse Orchid Genus

Dendrobium Orchids: An Amazingly Diverse Orchid Genus



Dendrobium orchids, with over a thousand species under its name, display remarkable diversity when it comes to its flowering behavior, appearance, growing condition, and also has an impressively wide geographical distribution.

Given its seemingly countless species, cultures, and hybrids, plus their complicated nature, orchid experts and botanists are finding it hard to break down the dendrobium orchid genus into a smaller genus.

Fast Facts About Dendrobium Orchids

The name Dendrobium is a combination of the Greek words "dendron" (tree) and bios (life) respectively, which is in reference to its epiphytic nature (living on trees).

Botanical Name: Dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um)
Common Name: Stalk orchids
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Dendrobieae
Subtribe: Dendrobiinae
Genus:  Dendrobium
Growing type: Epiphyte (on trees) and Symbodial (vine-like)

Dendrobium orchids flower during summer and remain dormant in winter. Their flowers appear at the end of a long stalk, which can grow as long as eight feet. (This also explains their common name.) These stalks are also called flower spikes.

Interestingly, there are types of this orchid plant whose flowers last only fleetingly, say, a few hours. On the contrary, there are also dendrobium orchids whose blooms last as long as 10 months, such as the Dendrobium cuthbersonii, which holds the record for the most long-lasting flower in all of the plant kingdom.

Dendrobium Orchid Species, Sections, and Hybrids

Olaf Swartz, a Swedish botanist and taxonomist, discovered dendrobium orchids in 1799. Since then, there have been at least 1,200 orchid species officially classified under this immensely diverse orchid genus. The first dendrobium orchid hybrid was developed by the Veitch Royal Nursery in Europe back in 1855.

For easier classification, dendrobiums are divided into six main sections. Here they are along with popular species and hybrids for each section, as listed by the St. Augustine Orchid Society.

Phalaenanthe – May be referred to as the phalaenopsis-type dendrobiums because of their uncanny resemblance. These are evergreen orchid plants with thin and tall pseudobulbs and terminal inflorescences.

  • Dendrobium bigibbum
  • Dendrobium phalaenopsis
  • Dendrobium lithicolum (Dendrobium phalaenopsis v compactum)
  • Dendrobium affine

Hybrids and Culture:

  • Dendrobium Anching Lubag
  • Dendrobium Ahulani Hinjosa
  •  Dendrobium Burmese Ruby
  •  Dendrobium Caesar
  • Dendrobium Carol Kamemoto
Spatulata – Antelope type dendrobium orchid plants that are evergreen for many years and the bloom with long-lasting flowers during summer.

  • Dendrobium antennatum
  • Dendrobium stratiotes
  • Dendrobium strebloceras
  • Dendrobium canaliculatum
  • Dendrobium carronii

Culture and Hybrids
  • Dendrobium Christabella (lasianthera x sutiknoi)
  • Dendrobium Lorrie Mortimer (Caesar x Samarai)
  • Dendrobium Linc’s Jewel (taurinum x canaliculatum
  • Dendrobium Retrorocket (Bobby Aisaka x lasianthera)
  • Dendrobium Touch of Gold (gouldii x johannis)

Dendrobium – These orchid species are deciduous and are identified as either erect (nobile) or pendulous (semi-nobile) with leaves all along the canes that usually fall down during the cold season.


  • Dendrobium nobile
  • Dendrobium moniliforme
  • Dendrobium crepidatum
  • Dendrobium devonianum
  • Dendrobium falconeri
  • Dendrobium fimbriatum


Callista – These orchid plants are evergreen with many having pseudobulbs. with pendant inflorescences. Flowers come in shades of yellow, white, or lavender.


  • Dendrobium aggregatum 
  •  Dendrobium chrysotoxum

Latouria – There are more or less 57 orchid species in this section of dendrobium. All of which hail from New Guinea. Most of its orchid species have white and cream flowers that bear similarities to hellebores and that last for months, winter through spring.



  • Dendrobium eximium
  • Dendrobium macrophyllum
  • Dendrobium polysema
  • Dendrobium alexanderae
  • Dendrobium convolutum



  • Dendrobium Roy Tokunaga (atroviolaceum x johnsonae)
  •  Dendrobium Stephen Batchelor (alexanderae x johnsonae)
  • Dendrobium Andree Millar (atroviolaceum x convolutum)
  • Dendrobium Bill Takamatsu (Roy Tokunaga x johnsonae)
  • Dendrobium Wonder Nishii (atroviolaceum x alexanderae)



Formosae popularly referred to as the Nigrohirsutae types


  • Dendrobium dearie
  •  Dendrobium draconis
  • Dendrobium formosum
  • Dendrobium infundibulum
  • Dendrobium sanderae


Of all dendrobium orchid species, the most extensive in numbers are the Den. anosmum, Den. erosum, Den. crumenatum, Den. lobbi, Den. stuartii, Den. secundum, and Den. Macrophyllum. These low-land orchid species are found in their natural habitats in many parts of Asia, such as India, down to Australia.

Dendrobium Orchid In Los Angeles

Dendrobium orchids are widely distributed worldwide, from tropical Asian countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Papua New Guinea, where the biggest diversity was noted.

There are many different types of dendrobium orchids that it’s not impossible to see one thriving in tropical environments and others growing in cold, wintry states. That being said, it’s not far-fetched to see a dendrobium orchid plant or orchid arrangement in Los Angeles, where it’s always bright and sunny.

Check out the orchidariums and botanical gardens in town. The Arboretum of Los Angeles County, Descanso Gardens, and South Botanic Garden are some of our personal favorites.

However, if you wish to have your own private orchid collection blooming every day just for you, go see our captivating orchid plant arrangements. A stone’s throw away from the prime addresses of the City of Angels, Orchid Republic offers flower delivery anywhere in Los Angeles and Orange County.




Orchids of Asia, Teoh Eng Soon, 2005
Ortho's All About Orchids, Elvin McDonald
Handy Pocket Guide to Orchids, David P. Banks
St. Augustine Orchid Society
American Orchid Society

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