Den. teretifolium

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Den. teretifolium in flower - Click to Enlarge Den. teretifolium in flower.
Den. teretifolium flowers - Click to Enlarge Close up of the flowers of Den. teretifolium.  Whilst the individual flower might not be particularly spectacular,it more than make up for this with the spectacular number of flowers.

This orchid is either Epiphyte or Lithophyte forming pendulous clumps to 3 metres long. The leaves are up to 60cm x 8 mm, terete, pendulous, dark green & not grooved. Numerous racemes bearing up to sixteen spidery white to cream, fragrant flowers, with red to purple markings on the lip appear in late winter or early spring. It is a native orchid of Eastern Australia extending from Bega in New South Wales to Rockhampton in Queensland. In the southern part of its range these orchids exclusively grow on Swamp Oak and are locally common. In south-eastern Queensland they grow on rainforest trees in open positions and are occasionally found growing on rocks and are frequently found on trees overhanging water. According to ‘The Complete Edition of Orchids of Australia’ there are various forms of this orchid. There are var. fasciculatum that has stouter leaves and the flowers are all white, is confined to northern Queensland between Endeavour and Burdekin Rivers. Var. fairfaxii forma fairfaxii has longer slender stems and leaves with smaller racemes of yellowish flowers and is found in the ranges and coastal areas of NSW from the Clarence River to the Blue Mountains. Var. fairfaxii forma aureum is similar to forma fairfaxii but the flowers are yellow-green to golden yellow, often striated and is a rain-forest plant from near Nambour as far south as the Richmond River in NSW. The orchids that Graham & I have seen in have all been high up in the trees and overhanging water. They seem to like a semi-shady location with plenty of air movement. They like a reasonably high humidity all year round and most of the rainfall they get is during summer with a drier winter.

I received my Den. teretifolium in 1995 from Graham’s parents for a birthday present. It was about 2-1/2 foot long when I received it and is now about 5ft long. I hang it about a foot from the roof of the orchid house. It is A Frame with 50% shadecloth and also solarweave on the roof. This orchid is mounted on an old fence paling and it hangs on the southern side of my orchid house facing north. During summer it gets watered three times a week when the orchids get watered and on very hot days during December, January and February it also gets sprayed each day to keep the roots moist. During winter it only gets watered once a week but if it looks to be drying out too much I also give it a light mist. I fertilise it weekly with Native Orchid Food from Horticultural Solutions during spring and summer. Fortnightly during autumn and don’t fertilise it at all during winter.

I also grow another teretifolium that is mounted on a piece of tree fern in my frangipanni tree in the backyard. In winter it gets sun until after lunch and during summer it gets morning sun and then only filtered sun for the rest of the day. During spring it gets watered once a week and when it starts to get warmer it gets watered daily. During the hot months of December, January and February it gets watered morning and evening as it has very good air movement and dries out very quickly. Fertilising is the same as with the one grown in the orchid house. Flowering usually occurs during August/September.

This orchid is a slow grower and I find it very rewarding when it flowers. It is fairly easy to grow if you keep up the water during the hot summer months.

Marilyn Corbin


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