Plant tissue culture technique is widely used in the conservation and utilization of rare and endangered medicinal plants and it is crucial for tissue culture stocks to obtain the ability to produce similar bioactive components as their wild correspondences. In this paper, a headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry method combined with chemometric methods was applied to analyze and evaluate the volatile compounds in tissue-cultured and wild Dendrobium huoshanense Cheng and Tang, Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo and Dendrobium moniliforme (Linn.) Sw. In total, 63 volatile compounds were separated, with 53 being identified from the three Dendrobium spp. samples. Different provenances of Dendrobiums had characteristic chemicals and showed remarkable quantity discrepancy of common compositions. The similarity evaluation disclosed that the accumulation of volatile compounds in Dendrobium samples might be affected by their provenance. Principal component analysis showed that the first three components explained 85.9% of data variance, demonstrating a good discrimination between samples. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry techniques, combined with chemometrics, might be an effective strategy for identifying the species and their provenance, especially in the assessment of tissue-cultured Dendrobium quality for use in raw herbal medicines. © 2016

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