AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium cristatum var. cristatum
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Satyrium pentadactylum Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 24: 506 (1898).
Description:
Plants erect, slender above the basal leaves, rarely somewhat stout, the glabrous stems (14-) 24-40 (-55) cm tall. Leaves 2, rarely 3, spreading near the soil surface, with a generally abrupt transition to the sheaths; the longest lamina 2-16 cm long, ovate to elliptic, obtuse to acute, the upper surface shiny when fresh, flat to shallowly V-shaped in transverse section. Sheaths usually closely clasping the mostly slender stem, often overlapping, the lowest sometimes larger and partly spreading. Inflorescence generally dense and slender, 4-30 cm long with (8-) 1 5-40 (-85) flowers borne close to the stem. Perianth colour white with bright pur pie-red to brownish-red blotches and lines on the sepals, petals and the inside of the labellum. No scent recorded. Bracts fully deflexed at anthesis, very minutely ciliolate, 2-3 times the length of the 4-9 mm long rather stout ovary. Sepals 6-10 mm long, about half being fused with the petals and the curved lower side of the labellum, jointly often forming a shallow sac; free parts of the sepals narrowly oblong, obtuse, partly spreading from the base. Petals similar to the sepals, less spreading, standing usually almost in line with the fused portion. Labellum from the side broader than tall, the margins rather ro u nded; aperture 3-6 mm high, broadly ovate; apex with a minute, 0,7 mm high, strongly reflexed flap; base with broadly conical entrances to the spurs; abaxial ridge minute, about 0,2 mm high along most of the mid-nerve. Spurs 3-7 mm long, from about half the length of the ovary to very slightly longer, with a shortly conical base, at first tending to curve above and away from the ovary, decurving more distally. Column lying in the back and apex of the galea, leaving a large space beneath it; basal portion slender, curved basally, 4-5 mm long. Stigma less than 1 mm high, broadly semi-orbicular. Rostellum about 1 mm long, obtuse, the glands sub-terminal, semi- orbicular. Staminoides as irregular pulvini above the anther sacs.
Habitat:
Its distribution extends from the Eastern Cape uplands through Transkei to Natal and the Transvaal, mainly at altitudes between 1 000 and 2 000 metres. It may be rare to locally frequent in moist grassy fiats, sometimes marshy in the flowering season which is at the height of the summer rains.
Phenology:
Flowering of Satyrium cristatum var. cristatum takes place mostly in the summer months from January to March, rarely as early as October or as late as May.
Distribution:
S. Africa
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
Satyrium cristatum var. cristatum. 01 Satyrium cristatum var. cristatum. 02 Satyrium cristatum var. cristatum. 03
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.