AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium lupulinum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 338 (1838).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Satyrium pallidiflorum Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 20(50): 15 (1895).
Description:
Plants rather slender, decumbent to erect, the stems (14-) 1 5-25 (-50) cm long, glabrous. Leaves 1 -3, spreading near the soil surface but not pressed upon it, the transition to the sheaths fairly abrupt; longest lamina ovate to broadly ovate, obtuse, 2-8 cm long. Sheaths mostly rather loosely enclosing the stem, usually leaving little of it exposed. Inflorescence rather dense, 3-30 cm long with (6-) 12-20 (-40) flowers. Perianth colour dull yellowish green tinged with dark purple, the column mostly pale green with the rostellum pale straw-coloured. Scent pungent and soapy. Bracts more than twice the length of the 7-12 mm long ovary, strongly deflexed at anthesis, the margins glabrous. Sepals 6-8 mm long, free almost to their bases, strongly recurving along their length, narrowly elliptic-oblong, obtuse, the lateral falcate. Petals with the basal 2/3 forming a loose tube with the sides of the labellum to about half-way along its aperture, the distal third abruptly falcate, crenulate, obtuse. Labellum from the side rather narrower than tall; aperture oval; distal flap semi-circular, about 2 mm high, recurved. Spurs slender, 15-18 mm long, usually lying close to the ovary and stem. Column rather closely fitting the back and base of the galea, with its basal portion scarcely curved and relatively short, 2 mm long. Stigma narrowly oblong, truncate, almost straight, 4 mm long. Rostellum ovate with the upper surface a smooth lamina, the apex spoon-like, curved up towards the labellum aperture, with the minute discoid glands on either side. Staminodes elliptic, above the anther sacs.
Habitat:
It is confined mostly to altitudes of 200 m and below on the coastal flats, although it has been found up to 900 m on mountains near the sea. It may be locally frequent, flowering after fires on south-facing or partly shaded, moist, sandy slopes or flats.
Phenology:
Flowering takes place mostly in the spring months of September and October, rarely as early as August or as late as December.
Notes:
There are two colour varieties, one with dark brown, the other with tawny yellow flowers. These sometimes grow together, and do not seem to differ otherwise.
Distribution:
The distribution lies mostly in the south-western Cape, with a few scattered records from as far east as Port Elizabeth, a range of about 700 km.
References:
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe and Hall 1982; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999; The Cape Orchids Vol 2 Liltved & Johnson 2012
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
Satyrium lupulinum, 01 Satyrium lupulinum, 02
Photograph© Cameron
McMaster. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Cameron
McMaster. Image used
with kind permission.