AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium bicorne (L.) Thunb., Prodr. Pl. Cap.: 6 (1794).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Orchis bicornis L., Pl. Rar. Afr.: 26 (1760).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Satyrium cucullatum Sw., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Nya Handl. 21: 216 (1800).
Diplecthrum cucullatum (Sw.) Pers., Syn. Pl. 2: 508 (1807).
Diplecthrum cuculliflorum Salisb., Trans. Hort. Soc. London 1: 287 (1812), nom. superfl.
Description:
Plants rather slender, erect, the stems (14-) 19-38 (-61) cm high. Leaves usually 2. seldom 1, pressed flat onto the ground, with an abrupt transition to the sheaths above; the leaf lamina broadly ovate to rotund, 3-1 8 cm long. Sheaths loosely clasping the stem and usually covering most of it, each smoothly cupshaped with the free portion weakly developed. Inflorescence with the flowers dense to well-spaced in a 3-30 cm long spike with about 4-40 flowers. Perianth outside and inside pale greenish yellow, tinged purple-brown faintly to darkly to almost black. Scent rather strong, soapy and sweet. Bracts deflexed at anthesis, very minutely ciliate, 1,4-2,4 times the length of the 6-14 mm long, deeply ridged ovary. Sepals and petals united with the labellum to form a tube for 1/3-1/2 their length, then together rather abruptly deflexed, oblong, obtuse; the sepals 6-9 mm long, the petals slightly shorter. Labellum from the side about as tall as broad and tapering to an acute apex, representing a partly developed, nonreflexed apical flap; the aperture usually narrower than the galea, sloping away from the stem and giving the flowers a nodding appearance, oval to ovate. Spurs 10-22 mm long, lying close to the ovary and stem. Column filling most of the galea and well enclosed by it, the curved basal part 3-4 mm long. Stigma 2-3 mm long, oblong, straight to slightly curved, truncate to emarginate. Rostellum slightly longer than the stigma, oblong, flat above, the keel below produced into a small apical lobe beyond the minute sub-terminal glands. Staminodes as narrowly deltoid pulvini at the rostellum base.
Habitat:
Altitudes range from near sea level to over 1 200 m in the Cedarberg, but mostly from 200 to 500 m. It is a plant of sandy soils, sometimes peaty and marshy. It grows in open to partly sheltered places among bushes.
Phenology:
Flowering of Satyrium bicorne takes place in the Spring months of September and October, rarely as late as December, flowers well after fires.
Distribution:
The distribution extends from Kamieskroon in Namaqualand to near Knysna in the southern Cape.
References:
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982;
Images:
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Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
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Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.