AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium parviflorum Sw., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Nya Handl. 21: 216 (1800).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Diplecthrum parviflorum (Sw.) Pers., Syn. Pl. 2: 509 (1807).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Satyrium cassideum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 341 (1838).
Satyrium densiflorum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 340 (1838), nom. illeg.
Satyrium eriostomum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 342 (1838).
Satyrium lydenburgense Rchb.f., Flora 64: 328 (1881).
Satyrium aphyllum Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 24: 424 (1897).
Satyrium tenuifolium Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 24: 505 (1898).
Satyrium wilmsianum Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 24: 505 (1898).
Description:
Plants variable in habit, from slender and leafless or with small leaves on a lateral basal shoot, to slender with a few large basal leaves, through to stout forms with large basal leaves, broad sheaths and dense inflorescences; (15-) 21 -75 (-130) cm tall, glabrous. Leaves 2-4 if present, the longest 1 -33 cm long, elliptic to broadly ovate, spreading 40°-90° from the stem; leaves above the longest becoming sheath-like abruptly or gradually, the upper sheaths merging smoothly into the bracts; leafless plants with sheaths varying from few and distant to numerous and largely obscuring the stem. Inflorescence of (10-) 21 -65 (-106) flowers, 7-60 cm long, very lax to somewhat dense when mature. Perianth colours yellowish green to olive or dark maroon, the petals drying to a rich brown shortly after anthesis. Scent usually faint, very sweet. Bracts narrowly lanceolate, 1 -2,5 times the length of the 4-10 mm long ovary, deflexed 120°-160° from the stem shortly above the base of the ovary when mature. Sepals and petals ¼ fused to the labellum. Lateral sepals 3-5 mm long, obovate, falcate. Odd sepal obovate-truncate, shorter than the lateral sepals. Petals narrowly obovate, about % of the length of the lateral sepals, minutely papillose. Labellum sub-ovoid with the galea aperture almost pinched dosed at the base, the margins reflexed and somewhat crenulate. Spurs often at first curved away from the side of the ovary, 5-15 mm long. Column stout, the basal part strongly curved and 2,0-2,5 mm long. Rostellum prominent, fleshy, boat-shaped, truncate, with two small discoid glands; staminodes at the base pulvinate and rather prominent. Stigma arching over the rostellum, about 1,2 times broader than long, obtuse.
Habitat:
Flowering takes place mostly in summer. In the south (33°-34° S.) it tends to be slightly earlier, starting in September. Elsewhere the chief months are December to February, during the summer rains. It has been found in a wide variety of habitats, from fynbos near George to marshy, moist or dry places in grassland, exposed or in the shade of rocks, on occasions even in forest.
Distribution:
S. Africa
References:
Flora Capensis, Vol 5, Part 3, page 3, (1913) Author: (By R. A. ROLFE.); Molecular Markers Reject Monophyly of the Subgenera of Satyrium (Orchidaceae) Timotheüs van der Niet, Systematic Botany, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 2005); Seed morphology in Southern African Orchidoideae (Orchidaceae) H. Kurzweil, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Vol. 185, No. 3/4 (1993)
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

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