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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  1. julie young says:

    I have one of these, must have had it 6 or 7 years. Never flowered, it just keeps producing massive long thinish leaves. Looks like a new spike is appearing, then it’s just leaves, with a small light brown wafer like pointed bit in middle of leaf stem.

    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Hi Julie – It would be helpful to see a photo of your plant. We find that our plants generally flower every other year since becoming mature specimens and it may be that your plant is still a little small. Alternatively it may be a cultural issue as we find that the plant does need a cool bright period in the winter to flower well. When the species does flower it is definitely worth the wait. If you want to send a photo please e-mail wsbeorchids@gmail.com