Plant Collector: Satyrium corrifolium

Satyrium corrifolium

Satyrium corrifolium

The complex orchid family has a large number of different satyrium species and most of them, including S. corrifolium, are native to southern Africa. These are terrestrial orchids which means they grow in the ground and these ones are tubers. Corrifolium is fully deciduous and come mid spring, delights us with its vertical accents of orange and yellow bicoloured flowers in the rockery. The references tell me that they get to well over a metre high but ours are all around the 60cm mark. At a metre high, we would have to stake them with our winds in this country. The leaves are fleshy and few in number, forming a rosette at the base. The biggest problem is that they come into growth in winter and are a bit frost tender so would need protection in inland areas.

This is another plant probably best sourced through local orchid societies. Once you have one, with care you can increase it from the tubers but you will probably have more success doing this in a pot than in the ground. Keep the pot on the dry side when the plant is dormant so the tubers don’t rot. In a garden situation, plants need good drainage and will grow in both full sun and semi shade.

Note: We don’t have S. corrifolium available for sale but we do have plenty of Satyrium odorum with its green flower spike and scent reminiscent of lemon cloves. It is just coming in to flower now.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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