Dendrobium canaliculatum (New Guinea)


Dendrobium canaliculatum occurs in southern New Guinea. Unfortunately, there is next to no information available on the form/s that occur there. References cite Dendrobium canaliculatum var. canaliculatum and Dendrobium foelschei as occurring in New Guinea. I have been told by a reliable source that this is indeed the case (i.e. both of these species are present). It is of course possible that both forms exist in New Guinea and that otherwise different form/s to those in Australia grow there (please note this is pure speculation with no evidence). Unfortunately New Guinea is still relatively poorly studied, and new species of plants and animals (even mammals) are found there reasonably regularly.

With searching a few photos of Dendrobium canaliculatum said to be from New Guinea can be found. There is no way to verify the accuracy of most of these photos being genuine New Guinea plants (or just labelled as a plant that occurs in New Guinea). A couple of the photos on the web appear similar to Queenlsand Dendrobium foelschei. Orchids of New Guinea have some images of a plant cultivated at the National Capital Botanical Garden, Port Moresby, however without a source location noted. From the images this plant displays some features that would appear to align it with Dendrobium foelschei - albeit it is difficult to make a judgement based on photos of one plant alone.

I am told by another reliable source who has observed wild New Guinea Dendrobium canaliculatum (or Dendrobium foelschei?) that they grow very large in this country – certainly larger than the typical Australian plant. This may be a function of distinct genetics or of the generally moister and consistently warmer climate of New Guinea.

The distribution of Dendrobium canaliculatum / foelschei in New Guinea (according to Orchids of New Guinea) is widespread across the southern lowlands of Papua New Guinea and West Papua from about the Turama River in the East to the Southern Asmat Region / Northern Merauke Region / Yos Sudarso (Frederik Hendrik) Island to the West. As per much of the information from New Guinea, there is a fair chance that the actual distribution is greater than recorded. 

If anyone reading this site has experience with Dendrobium canaliculatum / foelschei in New Guinea, or is aware of bona fide New Guinea plants in cultivation, I would be grateful if you drop me a line.