It is Dendrobium wardianum time again in the school greenhouse with the dramatic flowers opening on the long leafless pseudobulbs.
Dendrobium wardianum comes from the Eastern Himalayas from Assam through to Vietnam where it is found from 1000 to 2000m and so experiences a monsoon climate with a warm wet summer and a cooler dryer winter. It is deciduous and needs a cooler dryer winter rest to lose its leaves from the previous year’s growth and then flower from the bare pseudobulb.
The flowers have that delightful dipped in pink ink tip to the petals and sepals as well as a lot of yellow in the lip which distinguishes it from the similar looking Dendrobium nobile (below). Dendrobium nobile also differs in flowering from pseudobulbs produced two years ago not the most recent ones like this species. Dendrobium nobile and Dendrobium wardianum form the basis of a large group of hybrids.
We grow the plant in our Warm Asia section where it always produces the new growth (at the top of the first photo) before flowering so we don’t give the plant a completely dry rest