The flowers of Dendrobium spectabile defy description. The bizarre 3-inch blossoms have sepals and petals that are extremely twisted — sometimes wrapping around each other and keeping the buds from opening. The colors are a blend of yellow, burgundy and white but give the impression of a washed-out tan. The throat has a “hinged” mechanism that bounces with air movement, attracting a specific pollinator in the wild. The grower can simulate this bounce by gently shaking the flower. The blooming duration is about six weeks, and older plants can easily produce 100 blossoms or more.
Fragrance is a highly coveted trait in orchids, though few genera offer it. This Aussie Dendrobium’s semi-sweet aroma is strong from across the room, day or night. Even Oncidium Sharry Baby, the famous chocolate-scented Dancing Lady, cannot compete with the intensity.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, by Arthur Chadwick