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Dendrobium palpebrae

Howard Wood (The Dendrobiums, 2006) discussed the confusion regarding the identity of Dendrobium palpebrae Lindl. He questioned whether the real Den. palpebrae would ever reappear to reclaim its name?

In a previous post I stated that just about all of the plants that I have seen labelled as Den. palpebrae have been Den. farmeri, with which Den. palpebrae has usually been confused.

In a personal email Howard confirmed that this is a true Den. palpebrae. The flower and lip match the illustration from the Botanical Magazine (PA109 in Howard's book).

Note that the lip is not broadly orbicular but more ovate in outline. In addition, the lip has low side-lobes and the base has the hairs that John Lindley described "like eyelashes" - hence the specific epithet palpebra (eyelid).

I photographed this plant at an orchid society meeting in south-east Queensland in April (mid-autumn) 2009. Unfortunately, the plant was not very strong so the short upright inflorescence only had 3 flowers.

Hope this helps settle the question of the identity of Den. palpebrae and Den. farmeri.

Cheers.

Gary

Dendrobium palpebrae

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