365 days of orchids – day 53 – Dendrobium speciosum

This magnificent orchid is native to Australia. Its aboriginal name is “Tar-Beri” and it is also known as the “Rock Lily”. When in flower it is one of our largest orchids measuring nearly 2m across with many hundred lovely fragrant flowers each about 2cm across. It is one of those orchids that stops you in your tracks and must be a fantastic sight in the wild where it grows on rocks in open forest in New South Wales and Victoria.

Across its range this species shows considerable variation in the size and colour of flowers. We have this yellow clone as well as two white flowered clones, one large growing and one much smaller.

The pseudobulbs of this species are huge – 50cm high and with a diameter of 5cm at the base – and they repeat flower over a few years which helps to provide the fantastic display in a year when it decides to flower profusely. Interestingly this plant didn’t flower at all last year and seems to enjoy a two year growing cycle. We grow the plant in a large wire basket that originally held moss and bark but is now solid with roots. It hangs up in Cool Asia with a minimum winter temperature of 10C. Do come to the South West Orchid Show to see this plant in its full glory.



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