AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium humile Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 339 (1838).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Orchis bicornis Jacq., Pl. Hort. Schoenbr. 2: 26 (1797), nom. illeg.
Satyrium ochroleucum Bolus, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 22: 66 (1885).
Description:
Plants slender above the leaves, erect, the stems (12-) 15-28 (-42) cm high, Leaves usually 2, both spreading near the ground, rather thin and pliable, with a generally abrupt transition to the sheaths above; longest lamina 2-10 cm long, ovate, obtuse to acute. Sheaths with the lowest with a partly spreading free apex, the upper rather closely set against the stem of which part usually remains exposed. Inflorescence rather dense, 3-20 cm longwith(6-) 10-19(-43)flowers, Perianth rather small, pale cream, tinged green, pink or brownish. Scent faintly pungent, rather sweet like honeysuckle. Bracts deflexed at anthesis, distally minutely ciliate, 1,3-2,0 times the length of the 7-11 mm long ovary. Sepals and petals fused in their basal y4 with the labellum, forming a tube that continues by loose assemblage for half their remaining length, then curved down beyond the galea-aperture; sepals 6-9 mm long, oblong-acute, the petals slightly smaller. Labellum from the front taller than deep, the aperture broadly elliptic, the apical flap erect, crisped, 1,5-2,5 mm tall, obtuse to acute; back of the labellum with a slight dorsal ridge. Spurs standing away from the ovary, 12-26 mm long, Column filling the galea, the curved basal portion 2,5 mm long. Stigma 1-1,5 mm long, very broadly oval. Rostellum about 1 mm long, slightly channeled above, deeply keeled below, the glands adjacent, terminal on the truncate to weakly 3-lobed apex. Staminodes as rounded pulvini at the rostellum base..
Habitat:
Altitudes range from 1 50 m to 1 500 m, mostly 400-700 m. It is occasional to frequent in fynbos in rather localised areas, growing on stony sandy soils, rarely on clay and shale-derivatives. It flowers freely after fires, occasionally at other times.
Distribution:
The distribution extends through part of the south-western Cape mountains, from near Citrusdal south to the Cape Peninsula and east to near Riversdale and the Potberg, a total distance of about 450 km.

Images:
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Botanical Drawing / Herbarium
Satyriumhumile
Photograph copyright Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz Image used with kind permission.