Skip links and keyboard navigation

Dendrobium phalaenopsis

Common name

(none recorded)

Scientific name

Dendrobium phalaenopsis




Liliopsida (monocots)


Orchidaceae (Orchidaceae)

NCA status


EPBC status


Wetland indicator


Unknown endemicity - native


Dendrobium phalaenopsis grows on the branches of small trees in scrubby habitats, such as semi-deciduous vine forest and vine thickets, where fire cannot penetrate. It is abundant in patches of monsoon forest on stony soil which cannot support a dense grass cover. It is also found in beach scrubs with rainforest elements, gallery forest lining small streams, on rock faces, on mangroves and in heaths. (Barker 1997)


Dendrobium phalaenopsis is one of a group of Dendrobium species that are collectively known as the Cooktown orchid. It forms small to medium sized slender clumps on trees and rocks. Clumps consist of a number of erect, cylindrical stems which are slightly swollen in the middle with rounded bases. The stems are green or purplish and can reach a height of 1.2m and a width of 15mm. When the stems are young they are covered in papery bracts (very small scale-like leaves). There are 3-12 leaves on the upper part of the stem. Leaves are narrowly ovate, 5-15cm long by 0.5-3.5cm wide and dark green but often with purplish margins or heavily suffused with purple. The arching flower stems can reach 40cm and bear 2-20 flowers.
The flowers are pansy-like and usually lilac purple, although may sometimes be white, bluish or pinkish. The flowers of D. phalaenopsis vary greatly in width from 3-7cm wide, but are generally larger and less compact than those of D. bigibbum. The petals generally curve slightly backwards or not backwards at all. The petal that projects forwards is called the labellum and has three lobes. The two outer lobes curve upwards and overlap to form a column. The middle lobe is longer than in D. bigibbum, is projected forward, curves downward and has a spot with less prominent ridges covered by dense mauve hairs. (Barker 1997)


Dendrobium phalaenopsis flowers from February to October, particularly in March through to August, with flowers lasting for two weeks. (Barker 1997)


(no information available)


(no information available)

Threatening Processes

(no information available)

Human uses

(no information available)


Barker, M. (1997). Dendrobium bigibbum/D. phalaenopsis, in Species Management Manual. Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane.
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008). Vappodes phalaenopsis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Accessed 30/09/2008.
Herbrecs (2008). Dendrobium phalaenopsis, in BriMapper version 2.12. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 30/09/2008.


Contributors: Peter Bostock, Mellisa Mayhew 13/03/2009

Further resources

This page should be cited as:

Dendrobium phalaenopsis, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 22 October 2019, <>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science