AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Satyrium johnsonii Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 265 (1898).
Description:
A terrestrial herb 1.5-3 dm. high, glabrous except for the roots; tubers ellipsoid or cylindrical-ellipsoid, 13-18 mm. long, 7-12 mm. in diameter, ± tomentose; roots slender, flexuous, sparsely pubescent. Stem erect, slender, terete, with I or 2 basal leaves and several sheaths almost covering it. Basal leaves adpressed to the ground, lanceolate, ovate or almost orbicular, acute or shortly acuminate, 1.5-4 cm. long and broad; sheathing leaves 4-6, often slightly overlapping, lanceolate, acute, 1.5-4 cm. long. Inflorescence 3-7 cm. long, 2-2.5 cm. in diameter, densely to rather laxly 8-13-flowered; bracts erect at first, reflexed later, lanceolate, acuminate, 1-2 cm. long, the lower ones longer than the flowers. Flowers suberect or half-spreading, yellow, slightly fragrant; pedicel with ovary curved, 7-8 mm. long. Sepals and petals spreading forwards or somewhat deflexed, united with one another and with the lip at the base for ± 1-2.5 mm.; intermediate sepal narrowly oblanceolate-oblong, rounded at apex, 5-5-7 mm. long, 1.5 mm. broad; laterals obliquely oblong-elliptical, obtuse, ± 7 mm. long, nearly 2 mm. broad. Petals similar to intermediate sepal but narrower, 5-6 mm. long; all tepals 3-veined. Lip erect, very concave and hooded with a short recurved apex, 6-6.5 mm. long, nearly as broad when spread out, 2-spurred at the base; spurs slender, cylindrical, 12-15 mm. long, ± 1 mm. in diameter near the base. Column erect, ± 5 mm. high, the stalk slender; anther-loculi ellipsoid; stigma semi-orbicular, rostellum broad, shortly 3-toothed, the middle tooth bifid.
Habitat:
Open upland grassland, rock crevices, etc.; 2550 m.
Note:
The type gathering may have been made on the Matengo Hills in Songea District or farther south in Mozambique; the species should be looked for in the former area.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
SW. & S. Tanzania
References:
Flora of Tropical East Africa Summerhayes Orchidaceae Part 1 1968