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 cucumerinum Macleay ex Lindl.

Frost-tender epiphytic orchid with gherkin-shaped leaves attached to a creeping rhizome and short racemes of slightly perfumed, greenish white flowers, to 2.5cm long, with reddish purple streaks at the bottom of the segments and a 3-lobed lip, in spring.  [RHSD, Jones, FNSW, Pridgeon, Beadle].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Exactly as our specimen of this curious plant was, by the kindness of Capt. Philip King, R.N., received by us from Australia, we have represented it, growing from the same branch of a tree that it was imported upon in a good flowering state.  The flowers, though large in proportion to the plant, are far from showy.  The remarkable feature of the plant is the close resemblance the leaves (as Dr. Lindley is inclined to consider them) rather than pseudo-bulbs, bear to a collection of little tuberculated cucumbers or rather girkins; if they are pseudo-bulbs, then this plant bears no real leaves.  That they are not pseudobulbs seems the more probable, from the fact that the peduncles do not spring from any portion of them.  Our drawing was made in March 1851, in the Orchideous House of the Kew Gardens.’  [BM t.4619/1851]. 

Introduced to Britain in 1841.  [JD].  The Gardeners Chronicle reported that it was sent to Loddiges’ nursery by William Macleay.  [Gard. Chron. 1843].  BR f.37/1843.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogue [O.17/1850].  ‘This curious little dendrobe has only been obtained, so far as I am aware, in the blue mountains, and the only situations where I have procured it are in “gullies” near Camden and at Picton.’  [Fitzgerald].  Probably collected locally.


Published Jan 25, 2010 - 03:30 PM | Last updated Jul 28, 2010 - 03:52 PM

Figured are cucumber-like leaves and white and yellow flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Cabinet t.4619/1851.

Dendrobium cucumerinum Macleay ex Lindl. | BM t.4619/1851 | BHL

Family Orchidaceae
Region of origin

Eastern Australia

  • Dockrillia cucumerina (Macleay ex Lindl.) Brieger
  • Callista cucumerina (MacLeay) Kuntze
Common Name

Cucumber orchid

Name in the Camden Park Record

Dendrobium cucumerinum 

Confidence level high