Disa is a genus in the family Orchidaceae and is mostly found in southern and eastern Africa. Species are deciduous or evergreen terrestrial plants with both tuberous and stoloniferous root systems. They are found from sea level to about 7000 feet. Species O-R are found on this page.
Disa oreophila is found in the Drakensberg Mountains and grows from 10 to 35 cm. and has white or pink flowers that are lightly or heavily spotted purple. Photos from Cameron McMaster, Mary Sue Ittner, and Bob Rutemoeller taken at Naude's Nek January 2010.
Disa oreophila ssp. erecta is found on shallow soil over rocks and on damp grassy slopes and is a Drakensberg endemic. It has large flowers.
Disa oreophila ssp. oreophila hangs or curves out from damp crevices and grassy slopes and has much smaller flowers. Photos of this subspecies taken by Cameron McMaster and Bob Rutemoeller January 2010, Maclear.
Disa patula is found on montane grassland from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe. It has pale to bright pink flowers with purplish spots and a round pointed spur. The first photo was taken on Mt. Kubusie in the Amatola Mountains, Eastern Cape. The last three photos were taken in Maclear February 2008. Photos by Cameron McMaster.
Disa polygonoides is found on moist or marshy grassland from Humansdorp to the Northern Province. It grows to 70 cm. and has reddish orange flowers in a dense spike. Photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner January 2010 near Morgan Bay in the Eastern Cape.
Disa porrecta is found in grassland up to 2000 m. in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho. It grows from 20 to 60 cm and has down facing bright red flowers with yellow petals and lip. The spur is large and points up. This species blooms in summer. Photos 1-5 taken January 2010 at Balloch by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner. The last photo from Cameron McMaster was taken at Andriesberg.
Disa pulchra is a deciduous species from the Eastern Cape, Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal found on stony grassland. It is summer growing with bright pink flowers. Photos from Cameron McMaster taken in the Amatola Mountains of the Eastern Cape including a close-up showing the detail of a flower.
Disa purpurascens is a winter-growing, summer-dormant species that grows on acidic sandstone mountain slopes. It blooms in late spring/early summer, after its leaves have withered for the season. Photographed in Phillipskop Mountain Reserve by Christopher Whitehouse.
Disa racemosa is a winter rainfall species that grows to 1 m. It is found in marshes, flats and hills from the Western Cape to the southeastern Cape (Bokkeveld and Cape Peninsula to Grahamstown). It has lanceolate leaves and 2 to 8 bright rose-pink flowers with darker veins in a lax raceme. It blooms late spring to summer, usually after fire. Photo by Rod Saunders.