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Family Orchidaceae
Pigeon orchid
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw.

Mu shi hu

Scientific names Common names
Aporum crumenatum (Sw.) Brieger Pigeon dendrobium (Engl.)
Aporum ephemerum (J.J.Sm.) Rauschert Pigeon orchid (Engl.)
Aporum kwashotense (Hayata) Rauschert Sparrow orchid (Engl.)
Aporum papilioniferum (J.J.Sm.) Rauschert White dove orchid (Engl.)
Callista crumenata (Sw.) Kuntze  
Ceraia ephemera (J.J.Sm.) M.A.Clem.  
Ceraia papilionifera (J.J.Sm.) M.A.Clem.  
Ceraia parviflora (J.J.Sm.) M.A.Clem.  
Ceraia saaronica (Ames & C.Schweinf.) M.A.Clem.  
Ceraia simplicissima Lour.  
Dendrobium caninum (Burm.f.) Merr.  
Dendrobium ceraia Lindl.  
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw.  
Dendrobium ephemerum (J.H.Sm.) J.J.Sm.  
Dendrobium kwashotense Hayata  
Dendrobium papilioniferum J.J. Sm.  
Dendrobium schmidtianum Kraenzl.  
Epidendrum caninum Burm.f.  
Epidendrum saaronicum J.Koenig  
Onychium crumenatum (Sw.) Blume  
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ge shi hu, Mu hu, Mu shi hu.
INDONESIA: Anggrak merpati.
MALAYSIA: Daun sepulah tulang.
THAILAND: Waai tamoi, Buap Klaang haao.
VIETNAMESE: Th[aj]chh[ooj]c, Tuy[ees]t mai.

Pigeon denbrobium is an epiphytic orchid that grows on trees. Stems are slender, fascicled, smooth, elongated, up to 1 meter in length, with upright, sympodial pseudobulbs at the base, 8 to 12 centimeters long, about 2 centimeters thick. Leaves are scattered, distichous, oblong, 5 to 8 centimeters long and 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters wide, with a blunt tip. Flowers are pure white, fugacious, very fragrant, solitary or somewhat fascicled, appearing on the upper parts of the stems at the nodes; the center of the lip is pale yellow, 2.5 to 3 centimeters long. Fruits are capsular and elliptical, 2.2 centimeters long.

- Common and widely distributed orchid in the Philippines.
- Growing at sea level to an altitude of 500 meters.
- Also occurs in Sri Lanka, Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Vietnam, Indonesia, Borneo.
- One of the most common species of orchids in Asia.

- Plant yields trace alkaloid in the pseudobulbs and leaves.

- Studies have suggest antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties.

Parts used
Pseudobulbs and leaves.


- The Malays commonly used the juice of the pseudobulbs for treating ear infections. In Java, used similarly.
- Poultice of leaves used on boils and pimples.
- In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, plant used to remove impurities from the blood. In Malaysia, used to heal boils; juice from pseudobulbs used to relieve earache. (9)
- Fibers from the stems are used as decorative material in basket making and other crafts.

Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant:
Study of ethanol and methanol extracts showed anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive and antioxidant activities which may be related to the changes in the content of total alkaloids.(1)
Reproductive Function Effects: Study evaluated the effect of pigeon orchid pseudobulb juice on female reproductive function using Wistar rats. Results showed a significant increase in estradiol level and increase in the number of tertiary follicles. (4)
Antibacterial: In a study that evaluated nine plant samples for phytochemicals and biologic activity, Dendrobium crumentatum showed antifungal and antibacterial activity. (6)
• Antimicrobial / Stem, Root & Pseudo-bulbs: Study evaluated the potential antimicrobial activity of various parts of Dendrobium crumenatum against 8 pathogenic bacteria. The methanolic extract of stem, root, and pseudo-bulb exhibited antimicrobial activity comparable to standard antibiotics. Activity could be due to the presence of alkaloid and flavonoid compounds. (7)
• Frequency of Endophytic Fungi / Antimicrobial Activity: Study evaluated the frequency of endophytic fungi from roots, bulbs, stems, and leaves of D. crumentatum and its antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, E. coli, B. subtilis, and S. aureus. Twelve species of fungi were isolated from 60 samples. Guignardia endophyllicola were the dominant endophytic fungi. Screening of anti-microorganism activity of the endophytic fungi showed inhibition of C. albicans and C. tropicalis, with no activity against B. subtilis, E. coli, and S. aureus. (8)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated Nov 2018 / Oct 2017 / Oct 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: File:Dendrobium crumenatum 2.jpg / Conrad Munro / 21 April 2006 / GNU Free Documentation License / Click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Dendrobium crumenatum- Edwards vol 25 (NS 2) pl 22 (1839).jpg/ Edwards's Botanical Register, volume 25 (NS 2) plate 22 / Miss Drake (1803-1857) del. , G. Barclay sc. / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Pigeon Dendrobium, Dendrobium and wood cups of analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of the study ; Study on anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects of Dendrobium crumenatum SW., Dendrobium moniliforme (L.) SW. and Ephemerantha lonchophylla HUNT & SUMMERH. / Chen Songbin and Sung-Ping Chen / Institute of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw. (accepted name)
/ Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Reproductive function in female Wistar rats (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout, 1769) after oral administration of Pigeon Orchid (Dendrobium crumenatum Swartz, 1799) pseudobulb juice / Fitria, Laksmindra and Ridhowati, Annisa / Bandung: International Conference on Biomedical Science (ICBS) , 18-Jun-2012
Dendrobium crumenatum Sw. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Screening of phytochemicals and biological activity (antifungal, antibacterial, and anticancer) of medicinal plants
Nur Khairunnisa Ibrahim, (2007) Screening of phytochemicals and biological activity (antifungal, antibacterial, and anticancer) of medicinal plants / Nur Khairunnisa Ibrahim / Institutional Repository UMS

Frequency of endophytic fungi isolated from Dendrobium crumenatum (Pigeon orchid) and antimicrobial activity / WIBOWO MANGUNWARDOYO, SUCIATMIH, INDRAWATI GANDJAR / BIODIVERSITAS, Jan 2012; (13)1: pp 34-39 / DOI: 10.13057/biiodiv/d130107
Denbrobium crumentatum / Cristopher Wiart / Medicinal Plants of China, Korea, and Japan: Bioresouces for Tomorrow's . . . / Google EBook

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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