AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium oliganthum Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 53: 534 (1915).
Homotypic Synonyms:

Satyrium paludosum var. parvibracteatum Schltr. in O.Warburg (ed.), Kunene-Sambesi Exped.: 209 (1903).
Description:

Slender terrestrial herb 10–24(40) cm high; tubers to 2.5 cm long, ovoid, woolly. Leaves 5–6; the lowermost leaves sheath-like, the next 2 leaves borne near the stem base but not appressed to the ground, relatively large, spreading or ± erect, 2.5–5(11) × 1–2.5 cm, ovate, acute, sometimes with one withered at flowering time; the upper leaves bract-like, spaced along the stem. Inflorescence 4–8 × 2–3 cm, laxly or fairly densely 3–15-flowered.Flowers pale pink or mauve, the lip sometimes marked with purple. Ovary slender, 7–9 mm long; bracts 4–18 mm long, erect. Sepals and petals projecting forwards, joined to each other and lip in the basal one third. Median sepal 8–11 × 1–3 mm, oblanceolate, rounded; lateral sepals similar but wider and oblique. Petals 9–11 × c. 1 mm, oblanceolate. Lip 8–9 mm long with apical flap (not reflexed) 2–3 mm long, wide-mouthed. Spurs 4–8 mm long, parallel to ovary, quite stout but tapering to an obtuse apex. Column slender, 5.5 mm long; rostellum shallowly 3-toothed.
Habitat:

Montane grassland in tussocky grass amongst boulders and in dambos 1120–2100 m.
Distribution:

Tanzania to S. Trop. Africa

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