AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium princeps Bolus, Hooker's Icon. Pl. 18: t. 1729 (1888).
Description:

Plants robust, erect, the stems (28-) 34-69 (-86) cm tall. Leaves two, both pressed flat onto the ground, with an abrupt transition to the sheaths above; the longest lamina 8-23 cm long, very broadly ovate-elliptic, obtuse. Sheaths 7-9, mostly dry and membranous at anthesis, set rather closely to the stem, the lower with sometimes slightly spreading apices, the uppermost often bract-like. Inflorescence a dense, stout spike, 4-23 cm long with (8-) 13-33 (-44)flowers. Perianth rose pink to carmine red. Scent faint, pungently sweet. Bracts mostly dry and membranous distally, gradually becoming deflexed at anthesis, 1,4-2,8 times the length of the 8-17 mm long ovary, the margins glabrous. Sepals and petals fused for 1/5 of the length with the labellum, continuing beyond to form a loose tube by association with the extended sides of the labellum; the sepals with the laterals elliptic acute, the median sepal ablong, obtuse, 11 -14 mm long; the petals serrulate, the margins crisped, lanceolate, acuminate. Labellum from the front as deep as tall, the aperture 7-10 mm high, obovate; the apical flap serrulate and crisped, partly reflexed, acute, 3-4 mm high; back of the labellum almost lacking evidence of a dorsal ridge. Spurs (14-) 16-20 (-22) mm long, set fairly closely to the ovary and stem. Column filling the back of the galea, the basal curved part 6-7 mm long. Stigma sub-quadrate, slightly broader distally, truncate to emarginate, 3-4 mm long. Rostellum 4 mm long, deeply keeled; the glands deltoid-acuminate, set on either side of the narrowly acute rostellum apex. Staminodes as prominent pulvini above the anther sacs.
Habitat:
Flowering of Satyrium princeps takes place mostly in October, rarely as early as September or as late as November. Altitudes are almost all close to sea level, rarely rising to 150 m. The plant grows in open places between bushes on fixed dunes close to the shoreline.

Distribution:
Its distribution extends along the coast from The Wilderness near George to Port Alfred in the E. Cape, a distance of 400 km.

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