AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium candidum Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 24(Misc.): 82 (1838).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Orchis depsata Burm.f., Fl. Indica, Prodr. Fl. Cap.: 30 (1768), provisional synonym.
Satyrium utriculatum Sond., Linnaea 19: 84 (1846).
Description:
Plants rather stout, erect, the stems (18-) 23-45 (-62) cm tall. Leaves two, both pressed flat onto the ground, with a rather abrupt transition to the sheaths above; the longest lamina 3-12 cm long, fleshy, broadly ovate to subrotund, obtuse, the margins narrowly hyaline. Sheaths rather loosely enclosing the stem leaving little of it exposed, broadly conical, the lower with spreading apices. Inflorescence rather lax, 4-22 cm long with (8-) 14-23 (-27) flowers. Perianth white to ivory white, faintly pink-tinged. Scent sweet, rather strong. Bracts with glabrous margins, partly to fully deflexed at anthesis, 1,2-2,5 times the length of the 8-18 mm long deeply ridged ovary. Sepals and petals fused for 1/3 of their length to the sides of the labellum then decurved; sepals 9-12 mm long, elliptic-oblong, obtuse, the petals similar. Labellum from the front slightly taller than deep, the aperture 4-5 mm tall, obovate to rotund; the apical flap not crisped, 2 mm tall and partly bent backwards; the back of the labellum with a weak ridge. Spurs 10-20 mm long, curved so as to follow the line of the ovary fairly closely. Column filling the back of the galea, not emergent, the basal part curved, 4-5 mm long. Stigma very broadly obovate to transversely oval, obtuse, 1,5-2,0 mm long. Rostellum 1,5-2,0 mm long, tapering slightly to a truncate to weakly three-lobed apex, the discoid glands adjacent and almost terminal, the minute lobe from the keel showing between them. Connective not extended beyond the anther sacs. Staminodes as small deltoid pulvini at the rostellum base.
Habitat:
The altitude range is from near sea level to about 300 m. The plant is rare: it was formerly very local but occasionally frequent in areas now much changed by farming, invasion by Australian Acacias and by urban development. It is known from sandy flats.
Phenology:
Flowering of Satyrium candidum takes place in the early Summer months from September to November, rarely as late as January, flowering more frequently after fires.
Distribution:
The distribution is confined to the south-western Cape, from Tulbagh south tothe Cape Peninsula and east to Hermanus, a range of about 150 km.
References:
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999; The Cape Orchids Vol 2 Liltved & Johnson 2012
Images:
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Habitat/In situ
satyrium candidum
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.