Some years back, Roslyn Capell, well known in our orchid world, did an extensive study on Speciosums.

On occasions and recently, Ros has updated the articles and the website has extensive breeding documents associated with  the research.  I am publishing the articles but the breeding documents, I’ll leave for members to look up the website.

Introduction to original 2012 version

About two years ago I took on the task of compiling a list of cultivars of Dendrobium speciosum.   My object has been to record the named cultivars and record information as to provenance, of bush collected plants and also those which are the result of line breeding.   It has not been my intention to discriminate in any way, so plants are listed whether or not they have won shows or awards or been used in breeding programs.  If a cultivar has come to my attention, it has been included.

I have obtained the information from personal observation at orchid shows, from reading nursery catalogues, and from correspondence with people who have written providing valuable information from their own knowledge and records.

In a number of cases I received information about a cultivar from more than one source.   I have not listed every source of information for every plant, generally replacing an earlier source name with a more recent source if the later source provided more details, so the fact that a single name is listed in the Information Source/Additional Comments column should not be taken as meaning that was the only source of information about that cultivar.

I am particularly grateful to Phil Ritchie, who provided extensive information from the database maintained by himself and Keith Riseley, and also subsequently provided further details.   Bill Dobson, Dave Groffen, Wally Heath, Norm Stockton, and Gerry Walsh all provided me with lists and Graeme Russell shared the research paper he wrote on this subject for the ANOS judging course.   Graeme’s paper had a list of his own sources, although at this stage those sources are not included in the list.   In the case of information provided by Wally Heath, the name of his source is included in parentheses after his name.

I wish to stress that the inclusion of a name as a source of information as to the provenance of a plant means no more than that person provided information to me about the plant; it certainly does not mean that person was the collector of the plant.   In some cases people have told me who collected the plant, but those details are not included in this list, with a few exceptions in cases where the collector is no longer with us or where the plant was collected from private property.

I have noticed an unfortunate trend for seedlings from particularly successful crosses between two known parents to be given abbreviated names based on those of the parents in order to indicate that the plant is the progeny of those particular parents.  For example,  there might be a temptation to refer to plants produced by crossing Dendrobium speciosum var. curvicaule ‘Daylight Moon’ with Dendrobium speciosum var. speciosum ‘Windermere’ as Dendrobium speciosum “Moonmere”.   “Moonmere” might seem like a convenient way to refer to such plants, indicating, as it does, that it is the progeny of these two famous cultivars.  It is also a nice, short, way of referring to the grex instead of using the proper nomenclature which involves writing about 80 characters.   However,  this practice has the potential to cause great confusion and should be avoided by hybridists and hobbyists alike.

Labelling a plant Dendrobium speciosum “Moonmere” suggests that it is a specific cultivar,  despite the use of double quotation marks rather than single quotes,  as only someone with a sound knowledge of orchid nomenclature – and caring about it – will appreciate the difference.   It is foreseeable that dozens of people could ending up having plants in their collections labelled  D. speciosum ‘Moonmere’,  with every one of them being a  different clone.    To avoid  this sort of confusion,  a particularly noteworthy plant of Dendrobium speciosum var. curvicaule ‘Daylight Moon’ x Dendrobium speciosum var. speciosum ‘Windermere’  should have another distinguishing name added, as has been the case with   D. speciosum ‘Moonmere Excellence’.

I have compiled this list on the assumption that Dendrobium speciosum is a complex involving a single species of nine varieties,  in accordance with the findings of the study conducted by P.B. Adams, J.M. Burke and S.D. Lawson.

Their paper describing the study and their findings was published in The Orchadian,  Volume 15 Number 5, September 2006, p208 – p240.    However, thanks to Gerry Walsh,  a couple of thelychitons have snuck in.  This project is a work in progress,  and the list will be regularly updated, but it was time to start the ball rolling and publish the list as it is so far.    I invite anyone with comments to make about the current list, or additional information, to contact me by email at  or by mail to

P.O. Box 1549, Ballina, NSW, 2478.

Roslyn Capell May 2012


Updated commentary as at January 2016

The list has been updated with particulars of further speciosums that have come to my attention and further information about plants already on the list.   These new entries are written in blue.  A few names have been deleted on the recommendation of Graeme Russell because he was unable to verify his source.  The deleted names are ‘Bellinger Lassie’, ‘Brian’s Choice’, ‘Gold Ermine’, ‘Grandi’, ‘Surprise’, and ‘White Siamese Twin’.  If anyone has any information about plants bearing those names, please let me know.  ‘Debra’ has been removed on the basis it was a misspelling of ‘Denbra’.  ‘Kate’s Choice’ has been removed on the basis it is actually ‘Kate’s Special’.  The list also adds the names of Graeme’s sources after his name, but those sources are not added in blue.  There have also been some amendments to correct errors.

Details of awarded plants are readily available on the internet, and I visit quite a few orchid shows, but there are many plants in collections that I will never see,  and if a plant has been considered worthy enough to be given a name then it might be used in line breeding, and if that’s the case it should be recorded in the list, so please tell me about them.    Some people have sent me information since the original list was compiled, and those contributions are much appreciated.

That “Moonmere” problem I addressed back in 2012 continues to vex those of us who believe it is important to avoid confusion of this type.  It is not only the Moonmeres that are a worry,  but now that a plant named Dendrobium speciosum ‘Moonmere’ has received an Award of Merit from  the AOC (in Victoria in 2014) the Moonmeres are the group in which the potential problem has not only crystallised but has escalated.   I suspect there could be a number of hobbyists with plants labelled Dendrobium  speciosum “Moonmere” who will think they have plants of Dendrobium speciosum ‘Moonmere’ AM/AOC 2014 (Vic.).

There are a number of these “breeding groups”,  for example:

Breeding group Parent plants referenced or implied in breeding group name
Amymere ‘Amy’ x ‘Windermere’
Beemoon ‘Bee Creek’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Bustymoon ‘Busty’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Dave’s Moon ‘Dave’s Gold’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Goldimoon ‘Goldilocks’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Herbmere ‘Herberton’ x ‘Windermere’
Herbmoon ‘Herberton’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Herbville ‘Herberton’ x ‘Neville’
Larmoon ‘Mr Larcom Gold’ x ‘Daylight Moon’
Larwind ‘Mt Larcom Gold’ x ‘Windermere’
Mistymere ‘Misty Mountain’ x ‘Windermere’
Mistywhite ‘Misty Mountain’ x ‘National White’
Moonmere ‘Daylight Moon’ x ‘Windermere’
Natstar ‘National White’ x ‘North Star’
Two Windy ‘Two Up’ x ‘Windermere’

I have given more thought to how it might be dealt with, but haven’t come up with anything beyond continuing to draw attention to the existence of the problem and urging all growers to think very carefully before using these “breeding group” or “breeding line” terms such as “Larwind” or “Moonmere” when writing labels for plants bought as seedlings.   If you do elect to go for that short-cut, make sure to keep a supplementary record of the plants’ precise parentage in a notebook or on computer, and write out a full label for each plant as soon as practicable.

This project continues to be a work in progress and I invite anyone with comments to make about the current list, or additional information, or ideas about the breeding groups naming issue, to contact me by email at  or by mail to     P.O. Box 1549, Ballina, NSW, 2478.

Roslyn Capell                   January 2016

Dendrobium speciosum Cultivars – Updated May 2020

This list has finally been updated.  All entries added since the February 2017 changes are written in blue text.   The introductions to the original list in 2012 and the 2016 revision have been left in as the issues remain the same, and I repeat the plea made previously for growers to be careful with names and avoid using “breeding group” names such as “Herbmere” and “Larwind” on their tags because of the confusion they can cause.

I have received a number of contributions and comments since the last version and there are quite a few additions and some deletions.   I deleted the entry I had for ‘Triffid’ as a cross between ‘Herberton’ and ‘Windermere’ and replaced it to note ‘Trifid’ as a cross between ‘Herberton’ and ‘North Star’, which is what DUNO catalogues indicate it actually is.  I had attributed the information about ‘Triffid’ to  Bill Dobson but have checked with Bill and he only knows about ‘Trifid’ and did not  give me the other, erroneous, information.   I cannot account for the mistake and I  take full responsibility for it.   If anyone notices similar errors, please point them out  to me so I can fix them.

Some amendments have been made based on information received from Gerry Walsh, and also on input from various other interested persons.   I have updated the information about awards and added names from plants I have seen at shows.   As stated earlier, information about a plant often comes from a number of different people, but I have not listed every person who informed me of basic details about a plant, only the first source.  Where new information leads to an addition to an entry, I have noted the source of that extra information.

I repeat my earlier request for people to tell me if a plant they know to have particular merit or significance has not been included.  This is a cooperative effort intended to be of use to everyone, and with your help it can be even better.  I thank all the people who have already provided information.

Comments or corrections or additional information can be sent to me by

email to or by mail to P.O. Box 1549, Ballina, NSW, 2478.

Roslyn Capell May 2020