Satyrium shirense Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 266 (1898).
Slender terrestrial herb 13–45 cm tall. Leaves 6–7; the lowermost 1–2 leaves sheath-like; the next 2 leaves spreading, borne near the stem base but not appressed to ground, 5–14.5 × 2–6 cm, broadly lanceolate to ovate, light green; the upper leaves bract-like, spaced along the stem. Inflorescence 3–15 × 1–2 cm, fairly densely several- to many-flowered. Flowers creamy-white. Ovary 6–8 mm long; bracts to 15 mm long at base of inflorescence, reflexed. Sepals and petals deflexed, the lateral sepals spirally twisted, joined to each other and lip in basal half. Median sepal 3–4 mm long, less than 1 mm wide, oblong-oblanceolate, rounded; lateral sepals slightly longer and almost twice as wide. etals similar to median sepal but narrower. Lip 4–5 mm long, globose with a slight dorsal keel, fleshy with a narrow mouth. Spurs 8–12 mm long, slender, parallel to ovary; some flowers in an inflorescence have 2 vestigial spurs beside the main spurs. Column 3 mm long; rostellum very short, the apex reflexed, the side lobes represented by minute teeth.
Montane grassland, rocky hillsides and seepage slopes 1750–2500 m.
This species is very similar to the more widespread Satyrium chlorocorys but in the field is easily distinguished by it smaller more slender habit and constistent creamy-white flowers. In Nyika the two species are even found growing together but no intermediates occur.
Malawi to Zambia
La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1); La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam
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