Dendrobium nobile (noble dendrobium)
Dendrobium nobile (Photo: Nicolas Guérin)
Dendrobium nobile Lindl.
This species is widespread in the foothills of the Himalayas and not currently a conservation concern.
Epiphytic in seasonal deciduous forest in the foothills of the Himalayas and elsewhere, at altitudes of between 1500 and 2000 m.
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.