Orchids Wiki
Dendrobium bigibbum

Dendrobium bigibbum.jpg

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Dendrobieae
SubTribe: Dendrobiinae
Genus: Dendrobium
Species: Den. bigibbum
Binomial name
Dendrobium bigibbum
Lindley 1852

Dendrobium bigibbum is a species of genus Dendrobium, it has been the floral emblem of Queensland since November 19, 1959.


This beautiful but variable orchid occurs in several subspecies. It used to be prolific around Cooktown but is now rare in the wild, due to over-collecting by commercial collectors. The colour of the flowers varies from pinkish-mauve to lavender or purple and sometimes almost white, with the base of the labellum being a much darker purple.

The plants can grow up to 80 cm in height. The flowers are on canes 10-40 cm long. Flowering time is usually in the dry season between March and July; but sometimes all year in commercial cultivation.

Queensland, in preparation for its 1959 Centenary, sought advice what native species would be a good floral emblem. Specifically, the government was looking for an easily grown species found only in Queensland, which was decorative, distinctive, and close to the State colour, maroon. The Cooktown Orchid, which meets these criteria, was one of the four initial suggestions, the others being the Red Silky Oak (Grevillea banksii), the Umbrella Tree (Brassaia (now Schefflera) actinophylla), and the Wheel-of-Fire (Stenocarpus sinuatus). The Courier-Mail, a Brisbane newspaper, sought additional suggestions from its readers, and compiled a list of 13 possibilities. In a public poll, the Cooktown Orchid came in first place, the Red Silky Oak in second, and poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), already the floral emblem of the capital city Brisbane, came in third.


Plants are found growing in Australia and southern New Guinea at elevations below 1400 meters.


Plant grows in warm to hot temperatures with medium amounts of light. Likes a dry, sunny position with a minimum of watering and a temperature not below 13° C. Rapid temperature fluctuations can cause flower buds to abort. Keep plant moist and fertilize during growth season. During winter reduce watering until new shoots appear. Grow in a well drain mix of sphagnum moss or medium fir bark. Cultivated plants often have much larger flowers than those in the wild.


Image Name Description
Dendrobium bigibbum compactum.jpg Dendrobium bigibbum var compactum Plant is often found growing on rocks and has shorter pseudobulbs than other subspecies.
Dendrobium bigibbum coerula.jpg Dendrobium bigibbum var coerula Sepals and petals are white, lip is purple


Common Names: The Cooktown Orchid, The Two-Humped Dendrobium


  1. Callista bigibba [Lindley]Kuntze 1891
  2. Callista phalaenopsis (Fitzg.) Kuntze 1891
  3. Callista sumneri [ F. Muell.] Kuntze 1891
  4. Dendrobium biggibum [common mispelling]
  5. Dendrobium bigibbum subvar candidum [Rchb.f.] Veitch 1888
  6. Dendrobium bigibbum var. album F.M.Bailey 1902
  7. Dendrobium bigibbum var candidum Rchb.f. 1878
  8. Dendrobium bigibbum var sumneri [F. Mueller]F.M.Bailey 1883
  9. Dendrobium bigibbum var. superbum Rchb.f. 1878
  10. Dendrobium lithocola D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. 1989
  11. Dendrobium phalaenopsis Fitzg. 1880
  12. Dendrobium phalaenopsis var. compactum C.T.White 1941
  13. Dendrobium phalaenopsis Fitz. var. statterianum Hort. ex Sander
  14. Dendrobium sumneri F. Mueller 1867
  15. Vappodes bigibba (Lindl.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones 2002
  16. Vappodes lithocola (D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones 2002