Description from Flora of China
Herbs epiphytic, lithophytic, or less often terrestrial, polymorphic, deciduous or evergreen. Stems either: 1) rhizomatous, 2) erect and many noded, 3) erect and 1-noded or several noded from a many-noded rhizome, or 4) without a rhizome, new stems of many nodes arising from base of old ones; 1 or 2(-500) cm, tough or fleshy, 1 to several internodes swollen at or near base or along entire length to form canelike pseudobulbs, ± covered with sheathing leaf bases and cataphylls, often turning yellow when dried. Leaves 1 to many, alternate, apical or distichous along stem, linear, lanceolate, oblong, or ovate, sometimes subterete or terete, papery to rigid and leathery, sometimes with black or brown trichomes especially on sheath, base articulate and often with clasping sheaths, apex usually 2-lobed or emarginate. Inflorescences lateral, generally distal, in some sections pseudoterminal, 1- to many flowered, usually racemose, erect, horizontal, or pendulous; floral bracts usually insignificant. Flowers extremely variable in color and shape, often showy, very small to large, resupinate or not resupinate, usually spreading, ephemeral or long-lived. Sepals similar, free, short to filiform; lateral sepals adnate to elongated column foot and part of lip to form a mentum, 0.1-3 cm. Petals free, margin entire to fimbriate; lip entire to distinctly 3-lobed, base joined to column foot, sometimes narrowly clawed at base, sometimes forming a closed spur with lateral sepals to which it may be joined laterally for a short distance; disk with 1 to several keels, sometimes verrucose-papillose, calli rarely present, sometimes with a transverse basal ridge. Column short, stout; foot long, sometimes with a protuberance adaxially; apical stelidia obscure to distinct; viscidium present; pollinia 4 in appressed pairs, waxy, ovate or oblong, naked, i.e., without caudicles or stipes.
See the monograph by Seidenfaden (Opera Bot. 83: 1-295. 1985) and the book by H. P. Wood (Dendrobiums. 2006).
After publication of the treatment for the Flora of China, one species was newly recorded from China (see JIN Xiao-Hua et al. 2010.
Acta Bot. Yunnan. 32: 331-333, i.e., Dendrobium praecinctum Rchb. f.).
About 1,100 species: India across to Japan, south to Malaysia and Indonesia, east to Australia, New Guinea, and the Pacific islands; 78 species (14 endemic) in 14 sections in China.
(Authors: Zhu Guanghua (朱光华), Ji Zhanhe (吉占和 Tsi Zhan-huo); Jeffrey J. Wood, Howard P. Wood)