Satyrium erectum Sw., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Nya Handl. 21: 216 (1800).
Satyrium papillosum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 341 (1838).
Satyrium pustulatum Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 26: t. 18 (1840).
Plants rather stout, erect, the stems (11 -) 20-42 (-56) cm tall. Leaves two, both pressed flat onto the ground, with an abrupt to somewhat gradual transition to the sheaths above; the longest lamina 4-16 cm long, fleshy, ovate-elliptic to rotund. Lower sheaths often conical with the apical half partly spreading; the upper usually rather closely enwrapping the stem, leaving little or none of it exposed between them. Inflorescence rather dense, 5-26 cm long, with (8)-11 -37-(64) flowers. Perianth pale to deep pink with darker tinges and spots on the petals and labellum apex. Scent sweet and pungent. Bracts with glabrous margins, partly to fully deflexed at anthesis, 1,8-3,5 times the length of the 6-14 mm long ovary. Sepals and petals fused for 1/3 of their length to the sides of the labellum, then gradually curving downwards; the sepals narrowly obovate-oblong, obtuse, 10-15 mm long; the petals similar. Labellum from the front 2-3 times taller than deep, the aperture obovate; the apical flap 3-4 mm high, partly reflexed from a prominent mid-nerve; back of the labellum with an acute ridge from near the apical flap to the spur-bases. Spurs shorter than to as long as the ovary, 5-11 mm long, close to itto sometimes standing slightly away. Column filling part of the back of the galea, the basal portion straight, 5-8 mm long. Stigma very broadly ovate, 2-3 mm long. Rostellum shorter and about half as wide as the stigma, 1,0-1,5 mm long, tapering to two adjacent discoid glands on the truncate apex. Staminoides as deltoid pulvini above the anther sacs.
The plant is occasional to locally frequent on dry, sandy or clay soils on slopes and flats in areas with generally rather low rainfall, about 250-400 mm per annum. It occurs in Karoid scrub, Renosterveld and drier forms of Fynbos. Altitudes are mostly between 250 and 1 500 m.
Flowering of Satyrium erectum takes place in the spring months of September and October, rarely as early as July or as late as January.
Its distribution is unusual in reaching as far north as Namaqualand; it continues southwards through the partly inland valleys and mountains of the south-western Cape and eastwards to Uniondale, a total range of about 900 km.
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982; The Cape Orchids Vol 2 Liltved & Johnson 2012; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzwell 1999; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982
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