Curtis's Botanical Magazine/Volume 58/3074

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Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 58
3074. Dendrobium speciosum. Great Dendrobium.


( 3074 )

Dendrobium speciosum. Great Dendrobium.


Class and Order.

Gynandria Monandria.

(Nat. Ord.—Orchidaceæ.)

Generic Character.

Labellum ecalcaratum, articulatum cum apice processus unguiformis, cujus lateribus petala antica adnata, calcar æmulantia. Masse pollinis 4, parallelæ. Br.

Specific Character and Synonyms.

Dendrobium speciosum; caulibus erectis apice 2–3 phyllis, foliis ovalis-oblongis integerrimis racemo terminali multifloro brevioribus, perinathii foliosis angusto-oblongis, labello infra divisuram carina unica, lobo intermedio latiore quam longo ecarinato. Br.
Dendrobium speciosum. Sm. Ex. Bot. p. 17. t. 10. Br. Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl. p. 332. Ait. Hort. Kew. ed. 2. v. 5. p. 212. Spreng. Syst. Veget. v. 3. p. 738.

Descr. Stem a foot or more high, somewhat swollen, bulbiform, striated, jointed, sheathed with pale membranaceous scales, terminated by three large, coriaceous, oval-oblong, obtuse leaves, dark green above, paler beneath, obscurely striated, eight to nine inches long. From the centre of these, and from the extremity of the stem, arises the pedunculated raceme, a foot and a half long: its peduncle sheathed with large scales or bracteæ. Flowers resupinate, numerous, of an uniform, pale yellow colour, (except the lip,) deeper towards the extremity, generally secund when most expanded, though the buds point in various directions, scentless. Petals narrow-oblong, nearly equal, except that the two upper ones which cover the lip are

somewhat falcate, and are swollen at the base where they receive the base of the lip, all of the erect, never spreading[1]. Lip almost white, within spotted with purple, oblong, erect, the sides incurved, and a little waved, three-lobed, the middle or terminal lobe the largest, broad and retuse. Column short, white, plane in front, and then spotted with purple below the stigma. Anther white, hemisphærical, attached to the back of the top of the columns. Pollen-Masses yellow.

Dendrobium speciosum is a New Holland plant, that has long been cultivated in our stoves; but which, as far as I am aware, has rarely produced blossoms. In the present season, (Jan. 1831,) a noble flowering specimen was communicated to me, from the Liverpool Botanic Garden, by the Messrs. Shepherds. The plant was named by Sir James E. Smith in his Exotic Botany, where a figure likewise is given, but so unlike our present one, that the two plants scarcely appear to be the same. Yet I believe they are identical, and that the difference arises from the artist of Sir James E. Smith figure (which was done in New Holland,) not being skilled in Botanical drawing. The flowers are greatly larger than in our plant, the gibbous or spur-like base, essential to the Genus Dendrobium, is omitted, and the petals are widely patent. The plant from which our figure is taken was sent by Mr. Fraser to our Liverpool Garden. A drawing has likewise been obligingly communicated to me, by W. T. Aiton, Esq., from the Royal Gardens at Kew.

  1. In a fine specimen forwarded to me from the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, since the plate was engraved, one of the blossoms was considerably more expanded than is here represented.

Fig. 1. Flower, slightly magnified/ 2. Columns or Lip, the latter forced back to show more of the former. 3. Front view of the Column. 4. Interior view of the Lip. 5. Pollen-Masses–All more or less magnified.