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Species profile—Dendrobium bigibbum (Cooktown orchid)


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → OrchidaceaeDendrobium bigibbum (Cooktown orchid)

Photo of Dendrobium bigibbum (Cooktown orchid) - Queensland Herbarium, DES (Licence: CC BY NC)
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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Dendrobium bigibbum Lindl.
Common name
Cooktown orchid
WildNet taxon ID
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Short Notes
D.phalaenopsis transferred to this on Herbrecs although bundle is missing, Jun 2010.
Dendrobium bigibbum 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 are 3-5cm wide and the petals generally curve backwards. 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 projected forward, curves downward and has a spot with prominent ridges covered by dense white hairs. (Barker 1997; DEWHA 2008)
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Dendrobium bigibbum 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 particularly common in vine scrubs behind beaches and on rocky hillsides. The climate is strongly seasonal with reliable summer rainfall between January and April and a pronounced dry season during winter and spring. (Barker 1997)
In very exposed habitats during the dry season, plants can become completely deciduous and rapidly produce new growth at the onset of the summer wet season. (Barker 1997)
Dendrobium bigibbum flowers from February to October, particularly in March through to August, with flowers lasting for two weeks. (Barker 1997)
Management documents
Conservation and management of protected plants in trade in Queensland 1995-1998. Department of Environment.
Contributors: Geoff Sinclair 28/04/1999; Peter Bostock, Mellisa Mayhew 13/03/2009
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 bigibba in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Accessed 30/09/2008.
Herbrecs (2008). Dendrobium bigibbum, in BriMapper version 2.12. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 30/09/2008.
Profile author
Peter Bostock (13/03/2009)

Other resources

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
20 May 2024