Satyrium carneum (Aiton) Sims, Bot. Mag. 37: t. 1512 (1812).
Orchis carnea Aiton, Hort. Kew. 3: 294 (1789).
Orchis foliacea Burm.f., Fl. Indica, Prodr. Fl. Cap.: 30 (1768), provisional synonym.
Plants robust, erect, with stout stems (34-) 37-71 (-80) cm tall arising from broadly bifurcated tubers. Leaves 2-4, the lowest two pressed flat onto the ground, with a gradual transition to the sheaths above; the longest lamina 9-23 cm long, ovate-acute to very broadly ovate obtuse, thick and fleshy. Sheaths 5-9, the lower with spreading apices, the upper rather closely enwrapping the stem. Inflorescence a dense stout spike 6-20 cm long with (14)-19-38-(45) flowers. Perianth pale pink to rose. Scent absent. Bracts green at anthesis, becoming partly deflexed, minutely ciliate, 1,4-2,3 times the length of the 11-18 mm long ovary. Sepals and petals free almost to their bases, recurved to circinnate in their distal y3, the sepals lanceolate-oblong, 13-18 mm long, the median narrower than the lateral; the petals elliptic. Labellum from the front taller than deep, the aperture elliptic-oblong, 12-14 mm high; the apical flap fully reflexed, 2 mm long; back of the labellum with a prominent dorsal ridge from apex to base. Spurs 14-20 mm long, set close to the ovary. Column confined to the back and upper part of the galea, the curved basal portion 9-10 mm long. Stigma 5-8 mm long, narrowly oblong, sometimes exserted from the galea, curved along the same line as the column base. Rostellum 5-6 mm long, oblong with lanceolate glands on either side of a narrowly acute apex. Staminodes as prominent pulvini at the base of the rostellum.
Altitudes are mostly close to sea level, rising occasionally to 150-300 m. The plant is increasingly local and rare among dune-bush vegetation and in fynbos on coastal hills and ridges on moist to dry sands and limestones.
Pollinated by Lesser Double-collared, Orange-breasted and Malachite Sunbirds. Pollinia attach themselves to the bird's beak.
Flowering of Satyrium carneum takes place in the Spring and early Summer months from September to November, rarely as late as December.
Unlike Satyrium bicorne, Satyrium carneum produces more than one new tuber each year and so is more easily increased. It comes from the winter rainfall area.
Its distribution extends from the coast north of Cape Town to the Cape Peninsula and east to the Riversdale coastline, a distance of about 400 km.
Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzwell 1999; The Cape Orchids Vol 2 Liltved & Johnson 2012
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