AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium paludosum Rchb.f., Flora 48: 182 (1865).
Description:
A terrestrial herb 3-8 dm. high, almost entirely glabrous apart from the roots; tubers ellipsoid, 1.5-2.5 cm. long, 8-14 mm. in diameter, ± tomentose; roots slender, pubescent. Stem erect, slender to stout, leafy along its length. Leaves 5-11, the lowest 2-3 sheath-like, obtuse, the remainder suberect, narrowly lanceolate, acute, the largest 12-22 cm. long and 1.5-3.5 cm. broad, the upper ones progressively smaller. Inflorescence ± pyramidal, 2-7 cm. long, 2.5-5 cm. in diameter, densely many-flowered; bracts spreading, lanceolate, acute, 1-3 cm. long. Flowers spreading almost horizontally, sessile, white, sometimes with pink markings; ovary 5.5-8 mm. long. Sepals and petals spreading forwards, united to one another in their lower half or third and to the lip in their basal third or quarter; intermediate sepal oblong-ligulate, 9-13 mm. long, 1.5-2.5 mm. broad; laterals obliquely oblong-elliptical, obtuse, equalling the intermediate but 3-4 mm. broad. Petals similar to the intermediate sepal but smaller. Lip very convex, with a wide mouth and erect narrowed apex, 8-10 mm. long; spurs broad and rounded, up to 2.5 mm. long but sometimes scarcely developed. Column erect, slender, the stalk longer than the fertile apex, 5-6.5 mm. long; stigma semi-orbicular, concave, ± 1.5 mm. high and rather broader, rostellum porrect, truncate in front with 3 equal teeth, scarcely 1 mm. long.
Habitat:
Damp grasslands and swamps. Alt. 1700-2500 m.
Phenology:
Flowering usually in October-January.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus, cold growing terrestrial.
Distribution:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Kenya, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe.
References:
Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 1 Summerhayes 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977; Flora Zambesiaca Vol. 11 Part 1 Pope 1995 Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 1 Summerhayes 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; African Orchids: XXX V. S. Summerhayes, Kew Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 2 (1966), pp. 165-199; Seed morphology in Southern African Orchidoideae (Orchidaceae) H. Kurzweil, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Vol. 185, No. 3/4 (1993), pp. 229-247
Images:
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Habitat/In situ
satyrium paludosum 01
Photograph© Margaret
Westrop. Image used
with kind permission.