AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium longicauda Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 337 (1838).
Description:
A terrestrial herb 1-6.5 dm. high, glabrous except for the roots; tubers ellipsoid, ovoid or fusiform-ovoid, 1-3.5 cm. long, 4-13 mm. in diameter,± tomentose; roots slender, flexuous, pubescent. Sterile stem usually very short, up to 6 cm. long, 2-5-leaved; lowest 1-3 leaves sheath-like, subacute or obtuse, the upper 1 or 2 lanceolate to ovate-elliptical, acute or obtuse, up to 3.5-22 cm. long and 1-9 cm. broad. Fertile stem slender to rather stout, covered by sheathing leaves; sheaths 3-9, lanceolate, acute, up to 2.5-10 cm. long and 1-3 cm. broad, decreasing in size upwards. Inflorescence cylindrical, up to 23 cm. long, 2.5-4 cm. in diameter, rather loosely to densely 1- to many-flowered; bracts soon reflexed, lanceolate, acute, 1-3.5 cm. long, the lower ones often longer than the flowers. Flowers curved outwards, white or variously suffused or tinged pink, fragrant; pedicel with ovary curved, ± 1 cm. long. Sepals and petals deflexed, united to one another and to the lip in their basal fourth; intermediate sepal oblong-elliptical, obtuse, 9-13 mm. long, 2-3 mm. broad; laterals obliquely elliptical-oblong, obtuse, a little longer and broader than the intermediate. Petals similar to the intermediate sepal but a little shorter and broader, ciliolate in the apical part; all tepals 3-veined. Lip very convex and hooded with the apex shortly recurved,8.5-12 mm. long and ± the same in breadth when spread out, the mouth hroad; spurs ± parallel to the ovary, narrowly cylindrical, 2.5-4.5 cm. long. Column erect, 6.5-9 mm. high, the stalk slightly longer than the fertile part; anther-loculi pendent, ellipsoid; stigma erect, orbicular to transversely elliptical, 2-3 mm. tall, 2.5-4 mm. broad, rostellum porrect, 2-3 mm. long, 3-lobed, the side lobes short, triangular, the middle lobe much longer, ± orbicular from a narrower base.
Habitat:
Open grassland and rocky slopes, usually 1200-2100 m, in summer rainfall areas.
Flowering time:
December-March.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho.
References:
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; Flora of Tropical East Africa Summerhayes Orchidaceae Part 1 1968
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
Satyrium longicauda 01  Satyrium longicauda 02  Satyrium longicauda 03  Satyrium longicauda 04 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission.