Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe

Frost-tender, small epiphytic orchid with a branched, creeping rhizome, alternate, oblong, somewhat fleshy leaves, and pinkish purple flowers, with white-banded orange lips, in spring.  The flowers are solitary and arise from stem joints after the leaves have fallen.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Dendrobium loddigesii, when first described in Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet, was named D. pulchellum, and it is probable that this is the plant obtained by Macarthur.  ‘This superb species is a native of India: we have cultivated it for three or four years.  It appears to grow upon trees, and flowered with us for the first time in February and March 1833.  The flowers are exceedingly beautiful in form and colour: they remained several days in perfection.  We have found this plant to thrive best in a small pot of moss, kept moist, and suspended from a rafter in the stove.’  [LBC no.1935/1833].  Paxton's Magazine of Botany noticed a plant of D. pulchellum at Loddiges: ‘A magnificent specimen of this delightful plant, is at present displaying from fifty to a hundred of its exquisitely beautiful blossoms.’  [MB p.91/1839]. 

The plant figured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine as Dendrobium pulchellum is clearly D. loddigesii: ‘That this is the Dendrobium pulchellum of our gardens, and of Maund and Loddiges, there can be no manner of doubt, but I am by no means clear about it being the D. pulchellum of Roxburgh and Lindley.’  [BM t.5037/1858].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [O.22/1850].  Requested from Loddiges’ Nursery on 1st February, 1849 [MP A2933-1, p.185] and obtained from them, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in that year.  [ML A1980-3]. 


A less likely possibility is Dendrobium pulchellum Roxb. ex Lindl., synonym D. dalhousieanum Paxt., from Burma and India.  A small, epiphytic orchid with stout stems which bear racemes of up to 12, large, yellowish-white flowers, shaded rose, with 2 maroon blotches on the lips, in spring and summer.  [RHSD, Hortus].  Dendrobium pulchellum was introduced to Britain in 1834.  This is likely to be Roxburgh’s and Lindley’s plant.  [JD].  MB p.145/1844.

Published Jan 25, 2010 - 04:52 PM | Last updated Jan 25, 2010 - 04:57 PM

Figured are stems, leaves, pink and yellow fringed flowers and detail of flower parts. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.5037, 1858.

Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe | BM t.5037/1858 | BHL

Family Orchidaceae
Region of origin


  • Dendrobium pulchellum Lodd.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Dendrobium pulchellum 

Confidence level