AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium longicauda var. longicauda
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Satyrium platystigma Schltr., Ann. Transvaal Mus. 10: 245 (1924).
Description:
Plants slender, erect, (17-) 28-53 (-81) cm high, the vegetative parts glabrous. Leaves on a separate shoot nextto the flowering stem, variable: one or two, lying adpressed to the ground to partly erect, the longest lamina broadly to narrowly ovate-elliptic, 4-20 cm long. Sheaths on the flowering stem rather tightly enclosing and usually obscuring it, the apices only spreading somewhat in robust plants. Inflorescence not densely flowered, 4-30cm long, with (3-) 12-35 (-60) flowers. Perianth colour white to pink, usually with deeper coloured nerves, spurs and distal parts of the sepals and petals, in the dry state the perianth often showing this tinging as distal patches of darker brown. Scent rather sweet. Bracts 1,4-1,8 times the length of the 8-15 mm ovary, 6-1 2 mm broad, becoming strongly deflexed shortly above the base before the flowers open, narrowly ovate, the deflexed part concave, the margins often ciliolate. Sepals free almost to the base, spreading away from the labellum and distally fairly sharply recurved; lateral sepals narrowly elliptic, 5-11 mm long; odd sepal elliptic-oblong, truncate, as long as the lateral sepals. Petals forming with the sides of the labellum a loose tube then fairly sharply deflexed at the galea. narrowly elliptic-obtuse, rather shorter than the odd sepal, sometimes distally ciliolate. Labellum slightly broader than tall, with marked lateral inflations that allow access to the spurs past the column; apical flap prominent, emarginate to obtuse, covered on the galea side with a puberulous area that extends past the sides of the column to the spur mouths. Spurs 24-46 mm long, lying fairly close to the sides of the ovary and the stem. Column tightly fitting the top and bottom of the galea, the curved base 3-5 mm long. Rostellum slightly longer than the stigma, the two sub-terminal glands elliptic and prominent. Staminodes oblong to spatulate. Stigma about 2 mm tall, very broadly obovate, emarginate.
Habitat:
It is usually found in open grassland, sometimes on moist and peaty soils. The majority of recorded altitudes are between 1 200 and 2 100 m, although it grows not far from sea level at Port St. Johns in Transkei.
Phenology:
Flowering of Satyrium longicauda var. longicauda takes place chiefly in the mid-summer months of December to February, seldom as early as September or as late as April.
Distribution:
Its distribution lies chiefly in the moister uplands of the eastern Cape, Transkei, Natal and the eastern Transvaal. It has been recorded as far west as Plettenberg Bay on the southern Cape coast. Northward, it extends to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
References:
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
Satyrium longicauda var. longicauda 01 Satyrium longicauda var. longicauda 02
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.