AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium compactum Summerh., Kew Bull. 20: 179 (1966).
Description:

Terrestrial herb 20–60 cm tall; tubers to 2 cm long, ellipsoid or globose, almost glabrous. Leaves 6–10; the lowermost 1–2 leaves sheath-like; stem leaves 6–14 × 0.7–1.3 cm, linear or lanceolate-linear, acute; the 3 uppermost leaves much smaller. Inflorescence 1–6 × 1–2 cm, shortly cylindrical, densely 4- to many-flowered. Flowers arched, spreading, white tinged green; rhachis shortly pubescent. Ovary c. 5 mm long, pubescent; bracts ± spreading, 5–12 mm long, lanceolate, acute. Sepals and petals decurved, adnate to each other and lip in lower quarter or third. Median sepal 3–5 × 1–1.5 mm, oblong-ligulate, obtuse; lateral sepals longer and c. 2 mm wide, oblique. Petals similar to median sepal but shorter and narrower. Lip almost horizontal, 4–5.5 mm long, ovate, apex obtuse or subacute. Spurs 1–2 mm long, c. 1 mm wide, parallel to ovary. Column 3–4 mm high, slightly curved; stigma 1–2 mm high, orbicular or transversely elliptical; rostellum 1 mm long, the apex shortly 3-lobed, the mid-lobe bidenticulate.
Notes:

This species resembles Satyrium trinerve but differs from it in the shorter, more compact inflorescence, smaller bracts, and smaller flowers with shorter spurs.
Habitat:

Wet grassland and dambo, often on peaty soil 1350–1800 m.
Distribution:

S. Trop. Africa