AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium afromontanum la Croix & P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 48: 361 (1993).
Description:

Dwarf terrestrial herb 2–10 cm high. Tubers 12–20 × 3–4 mm, ovoid or narrowly ellipsoid, somewhat tomentose. Leaves 4–6; the 2 lowermost leaves sheathing, the next 2 spreading, sub-opposite, near stem base but not appressed to the ground, the larger 2–3.2 × 1.4–2.2 cm, ovate, clasping the stem at base; scape sometimes with 1–2 loosely sheathing bract-like leaves, 12–18 × 8–10 mm. Inflorescence 1–2-flowered.Ovary 11–13 × 2–3 mm; constricted at apex; bracts loosely funnel-shaped, not reflexed, 7–10 × 9–10 mm, broadly ovate, acute, enfolding the ovary. Flowers white, the spurs green at the tips. Sepals and petals projecting forwards, intermediate sepal and petals joined to each other for half their length and to the lateral sepals and lip for a third of their length. Intermediate sepal 6–8 × 1–1.3 mm, oblong, the free part to 6.3 mm long; lateral sepals 8–9 × 3.5–4.3 mm, free part to 6.2 mm long, obliquely ovate. Petals similar to intermediate sepal but slightly shorter. Lip very convex, 7–8 mm long and c. 8 mm wide, the apex reflexed; spurs 5–6 × 1–1.3 mm, the apices usually rounded, lying along the ovary. Column bent over, the stalk fairly slender, c. 1 mm long, 0.5 mm diameter; fertile part 3.5 mm long.
Notes:

This dwarf species resembles Satyrium comptum Summerh. but differs in the inflorescences being consistently 1–2-flowered, in the spurs lying along the ovary and not diverging from it, and in the loose bracts that enclose the ovary and which are never reflexed.
Habitat:

In shelter beneath rocks forming colonies, in damp places 2100–2400 m.
Distribution:

Malawi (Mt. Mulanje)