Satyrium odorum Sond., Linnaea 19: 86 (1846).
Plants robustly leafy, stoutly erect, (11-) 20-44 (-56) cm high, glabrous. Leaves 2-6, the largest 4-24 cm long, arcuate-spreading and fleshy-textured, ovate to narrowly-ovate; upper leaves less spreading and shorter, with conical sheathing bases, the transition to bracts being gradual to abrupt. Inflorescence with (2-) 7-23 (-44) flowers, 2-24 cm long and moderately dense. Perianth pale green and often yellowish, with slight to deep tinges of dull purple-brown on outer, distal surfaces. Scent strong, pungent and sweetish. Bracts 1,3-2,6 times the length of the 9-13 mm ovary, ovate-acute and strongly deflexed near their bases at anthesis. Lateral sepals 4-8 mm long, ovate-oblong, slightly oblique, strongly deflexed from the base. Odd sepal obovate-oblong, slightly shorter than the lateral sepals, also deflexed. Petals slightly more than half the length of the lateral sepals but somewhat less deflexed, ovate-oblong. Mentum at the base of the sepals about 3 mm long, angled at about 45° away from the line of the ovary, fused to form a short tube with the labellum. Labellum often drying black, 8-10 mm from the spur bases to the apex, the margins recurved and the broadly rounded apical flap about 2 mm long. Spurs 13-18 mm long, at first curved away from the ovary, rarely with adjacent extra spurs up to 3 mm long. Column tightly filling the galea, the curved base 3 mm long. Rostellum 4 mm long, keeled atthe base, the apex broadly rounded with prominent lateral ovate glands. Stigma 5 mm long, oblong to oblong-obovate.
It is usually found in partly shaded, humus-rich soils near trees and bushes, especially near large boulders and rock ledges. It may also appear among bushes on open flats. It ranges from places close to the sea-shore to lower mountain slopes to about 200 m, rarely up to 650 m.
Flowering takes place mostly in the spring months of August. September and October, rarely in July and November.
The centre of distribution is in the south-western Cape, with extensions north along the coast to Saldanha and eastwards to Riversdale and an isolated locality near Knysna.
A revision of the southern African species of Satyrium. [A V Hall; Edmund A C L E Schelpe; Nicola C Anthony] 1982; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzwell 1999
Click on each image to see a larger version.