One of our absolute favorite orchids at AEO … as you can see by the banner on the home page.
We have five different varieties and color forms of Dendrobium subclausum: two are solid colors (yellow, orange), two are bicolor (yellow/orange), and one has not bloomed for us yet. This orchid portrait features our largest plant, a pure orange form, that spans over 6 feet (2m), but is contained in a bit smaller space with pendulous canes. A gorgeous orchid, but certainly not compact!
Dendrobium subclausum is native to New Guinea and the Moluccas, at elevations of 1000-3250. With such a large elevation range, it is notably temperature adaptable, but certainly prefers high humidity like most montane PNG orchid species. We grow ours in our humid cool room, with winter nights of 50F (10C) and summer days in the low 80s (28C). I have seen one variety of Dendrobium subclausum growing well in a warm greenhouse (62F/17C nights) as well as outdoors in Southern California where nights would dip into the 40s (4-8C) at the coldest part of the year, and occasionally lower.
This form is the Dendrobium subclausum var. speciosum, noted for its much more “open” flower (not cupped or bell-shaped). Many forms are bicolor, but this one is a uniform orange, though the lighting gives a two tone appears when backlit. The same orchid has a range of shading and depth of color, as the flowers are long-lasting, and do appear differently in contrasting light. I do note that the taxonomy of this “species” has not been completely studied, and it may represent multiple species, but all forms/varieties are currently classified as Dendrobium subclausum by Kew. It has been been referred to as one of the great unsolved taxonomy problems, at the species level, for the Dendrobium genus, especially of New Guinea.
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My vision to create orchid portraits emerged from my appreciation for the “whole orchid.” So many photographs of orchids focus only on the flower. But orchids are not flowers: they are entire plants and living beings. Connect more deeply with the many dimensions of orchids …