A soft cane orchid in the section Dendrobium.
Most of the these are epiphytes growing on trees or sometimes rocks.
They are sympodial orchids with thin, white roots.
Every year they produce new, fleshy pseudobulbs (canes) up to 1.2 m long.
Canes are swollen at the nodes.
Pseudobulbs are soft and mostly greenish but can be yellow-green or purplish.
Offsets, formed in the axils, can be used to produce new plants.
Soft, flexible green leaves alternate over at least the upper two thirds of the pseudobulb.
They are strap-like or ovate and up to 15 cm long and 2 cm wide.
Plants are semi-deciduous loosing at least some of their leaves in their second winter.
Short inflorescences, along much of the stem, grow opposite the axil of each leaf.
Newer breeds can flower while all the leaves are on the plant.
Each inflorescence has only 1 to 4 flowers but each plant can have many inflorescences.
The waxy, sometimes scented flowers are up to 8 cm across and variously coloured.
The sepals are narrower than the petals.
The lateral petals are larger and rounded with a pale pink or white base and a darker purplish tip.
All can have wavy edges.
The large lip is rounded, has a tubular base and a frilled edge.
It always has a deep maroon area at the base then zones of different colours.
Flowers of D. nobile and especially its hybrids can be white or coloured – yellow, orange, red,
purple, brown or green and be variously patterned.