Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Dendrobium nobile (noble dendrobium)

The dependable noble dendrobium is one of the most popular epiphytic orchids in cultivation.
Flowers of noble dendrobium

Dendrobium nobile (Photo: Nicolas Guérin)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Dendrobium nobile Lindl.

Common name: 

noble dendrobium

Conservation status: 

This species is widespread in the foothills of the Himalayas and not currently a conservation concern.

Habitat: 

Epiphytic in seasonal deciduous forest in the foothills of the Himalayas and elsewhere, at altitudes of between 1500 and 2000 m.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, medicinal.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Asparagales
Family: 
Orchidaceae
Genus: Dendrobium

About this species

Dendrobium nobile was not described until 1830, yet has become possibly the most well-known of all dendrobiums, due to its popularity as an ornamental. There are a number of varieties in cultivation, including Dendrobium nobile var. virginale, which has white flowers with a yellowish green centre to the lip. Another commonly cultivated variety is Dendrobium nobile var. cooksonianum, in which the petals resemble the lip, each having a rich maroon-purple velvety blotch in the basal half.

This species was first known from China and was later imported for cultivation into Europe from India. Many horticultural varieties of this species were named in the 19th century. The specific epithet 'nobile' means noble, and the common name 'noble dendrobium' is sometimes used, although hardly needed as the Latin name is so well known.

Genus: 
Dendrobium

main info

Courses at Kew

Students learn about plant taxonomy and identification

Kew offers a variety of specialist training courses in horticulture, conservation and plant science.

Why People Need Plants

image of book cover

A compelling book from Kew Publishing that explores the crucial role that plants play in the everyday lives of all of us.