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Old 02-13-2010, 03:38 PM
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Dendrobium: nobile/non-nobile confusion

Hi. I'm a newbie to this forum and a newbie to dendrobiums. Bought my first one today ("winter beauty"). I'm a little confused as to how to tell if it is a nobile or non-nobile one so I can care for it correctly. Any advice would be appreciated
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:45 PM
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:43 PM
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Where does the flowers bloom will hint which type of dendrobium it is. If flower on a long spike then most likely is non-nobile. Most nobile flower along the cane with one or two flower attach to the pseudo bulb. Hope this help.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:14 AM
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From time to time members ask how they can tell what kind of dendrobium they have. Here's a little somethign I've written up to help answer that question:

Originally Posted by frostychic View Post
... how do I know what kind I have ...
The most common types of dendrobium are: phalaenopsis-type dendrobium (or phal-type for short), antelope dendrobium, and nobile-type dendrobium. There are others, but these are the 3 most commonly grown in the US. If you live in Australia, all three of these will be out done by Australian native dendrobiums.

Personally I believe the easiest way to differentiate between the types is with pictures, so here you go:

This type gets its name because the hybrids are made using species from the Phalaenanthe Section of the genus. The plants can be large or small, the canes when mature have leaves on only about the upper 1/2 to 2/3 of the cane. Flower spikes appear mostly from the top of the cane. This type of den is used in the cut flower trade and the vast majority of cut-flower dendrobiums will be this type.

Here are a couple pics of a fairly typical plant:
and a random selection of phal-type dendrobium flowers:
D.+bigibum.JPG (image)

This type of phal is extensively hybridized so the diversity of the flowers is incredible.

Antelope Type
This type gets its name from the petals of the species which stand up and twist, resembling an antelope's horn. They are not easy to tell apart form the phal-types when not in flower, especially since there has been a lot fo breeding of phal-types with antelope types producing hybrids like Dendrobium Easter Bunny. Generally though many have slightly smaller leaves than the phal-type, more slender canes, and leaves up and down most of the length of the cane. They flower from approximately the upper 1/4 of the cane.

Here is a random selection of antelope-type flowers:

Nobile Type
Nobile type hybrids are so named because they contain the species Den nobile. This type is easy to identify in flower because it will have many flowers on very short stems up and down the length of the cane. When not in flower they are distinct form the previously described types in that their canes are quite a bit fatter, especially in the middle and thinner at the base and end. They have leaves nearly the entire length of the cane. Nobile type dens are deciduous and usually one or 2 years after it is a mature a cane will loose all of its leaves so it is not uncommon to see bare canes on this type of den. It's perfectly normal and expected. Also, many nobile type canes have a slitly zig-zag appearance as if each leaf is pulling the cane slightly out of being perfectly straight. Returning to the flowers, they are generally very showy and often frilly.

In this pic you can see the flowers coming along nearly the fulllength of the cane:
and here are some more pics of nobile-type den flowers:
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kmarch
If you live in Australia, all three of these will be out done by Australian native dendrobiums.
Kevin, I think this should read Southern Australia, up here in the North we grow a lot more of the soft and hard cane Dens rather than Australian Native Dendrobiums.

(I include bigibbum and affine as hard cane Dens.)

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