AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium robustum Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 53: 530 (1915).
Description:
Terrestrial herb 25-70 cm high, arising from small ovoid or ellipsoid tubers. Stem erect, leafy or covered with leaf-like sheaths along its length. Leaves 7—11, mostly bunched towards the base of the stem, the largest lanceolate to broadly ovate, acute, 8-28 cm long, 3-5 cm wide. Inflorescence a dense erect cylindrical raceme to 24 cm long with 10-many flowers each supported by a conspicuous leafy bract; ovary not twisted. Flowers spreading, not resupinate, usually bright pink to crimson; sepals united to the petals and lip in the basal fifth only, dorsal sepal oblanceolate, obtuse, free part 8- 12 mm long; lateral sepals obliquely oblanceolate -oblong, similar to the dorsal but wider; petals similar to the dorsal sepal; lip erect, on upperside of flower, very convex, hooded, with a broad mouth, apex shortly recurved, 7-10 mm long, with 2 spurs at the base, spurs slender, 12-18 mm long; column erect and incurved, included within the lip.
Habitat:
Swampy grassland or bogs, especially near streams; only known from the Kinangop, Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon and the Cherangani hills in Kenya; 2700-3000 m; flowering in September to October.
Distribution:
E. Trop. Africa