AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium rupestre Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 24: 422 (1897).
Description:
Plants usually slender-stemmed, erect, (11 -) 19-30(-43) cm high. Leaves 2-4, borne near soil level, usually abruptly different from the sheaths above; longest lamina spreading, ovate, acute, 4-15 cm long. Sheaths mostly tightly enclosing the stem, leaving about 1/4-1/2 of it exposed between them. Inflorescence rather dense, 3-15 cm long with about 6-45 flowers. Perianth very small. white with pale green tinges along the mid-veins. Bracts fully deflexed at anthesis, 1,7-2,7 times the length of the 3-7 mm long ovary, 2-4 mm wide, the margins glabrous. Sepals, petals and labellum connate in the basal 1/4, above this forming a loose tube from which only the apices are spreading, the odd sepal reflexed earlier than the rest; sepals and petals narrowly ovate, acute, the lateral sepals slightly larger, falcate 3-4 mm long. Labellum from the side slightly taller than broad; the aperture rotund; the apex of the galea somewhat nodding, the reflexed apical flap minute. Spurs minute, slender, 2-4 mm long, curved away from the ovary up to the middle. Column filling most of the galea, with the basal curved portion 1 mm long. Stigma erect, broadly obovate, 1,5 mm high. Rostellum 1 mm long, the keel forming a truncate beak-like apex, the oval glands minute, sub-terminal. Staminodes as minute pulvini above the anther-sacs.
Notes:
Colour of the flowers white with pale green central lines on the segments.
Habitat:
Flowering takes place mostly in the summer months of November and December, occasionally in October and rarely as late as January or even March. The altitudinal variation is wide, from near the coast at 60 m to above 1 500 m in the Swartberg. Near the coast it is found in damp shaded places in forests while at higher altitudes it is recorded from damp mossy rock faces.
Distribution:
The distribution is chiefly in the southern Cape around George and Knysna, with outliers near Humansdorp, on the Swartberg and in the Hex River Mountains in the west, a range of about 450 km.

Images:
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Botanical Drawing / Herbarium
Satyriumrupestre
Photograph copyright Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz Image used with kind permission.