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 S-Z are found on this page.
Disa sagittalis is an almost evergreen species found on rocks, along streams, growing in shade in the Southern and Eastern Cape, Transkei and southern Natal. Flowers are small, white to mauve with darker petals. Photos #1-2 by Cameron McMaster taken at Mt.Thomas in the Amatola Mountains in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Photos #3-4 taken on Gaika's Kop January 2010 by Cameron McMaster and Bob Rutemoeller. Photo 5 taken by Christopher Whitehouse January 2012 also at Gaika's Kop.
Disa scullyi is a summer rainfall species found in marshes and swamps in the Eastern Cape. It grows to 50 cm and has 2-4 erect leaves and beautiful spreading pink or white flowers with a green lip. It blooms in summer. Photo by Rod Saunders.
Disa stachyoides is a very common summer rainfall species found in grassland up to 2800 meters from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo province. It has small purple flowers with a white lip and a long broad flat almost horizontal spur. Photos taken January 2010 near Maclear by Cameron McMaster, Bob Rutemoeller, and Mary Sue Ittner.
Disa stricta is found on grassy slopes and damp floodplains. Flowers are pink to lilac with a darker lip. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken on Mt. Thomas in the Eastern Cape in the Amatola Mountains, South Africa.
Disa thodei is a slender species growing to 300 mm found along streams, in damp alpine grassland in the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal from 1800 to 3000 meters. It has 3 to 8 white to mauve mottled pink flowers and is strongly scented. This species blooms December to January. Photos taken in January at Tiffendell and Naude's Nek by Cameron McMaster and at Naude's Nek by Bob Rutemoeller, and Mary Sue Ittner.
Disa uniflora or The Pride of Table Mountain is probably the most noteworthy example of the genus. It is an evergreen species from the western and southwestern Cape of South Africa. Growing to a height of around three feet, and commonly bearing up to six, 4 to 5 inch red, orange or pink flowers, it can be truly a gorgeous sight. The first two photos are of Disa uniflora in a Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden greenhouse. The next two show different striking cultivars. The first four photos by Rogan Roth. The fifth photo from Ragnhild Crawford was taken at Betty's Bay. The last photo was taken by Rod Saunders.
Disa versicolor grows in grassland in tropical and southern Africa from the Eastern Cape to Angola and Zimbabwe. It grows to 70 cm. and has flowers crowded in a dense spike that are pink in bud, but soon turn brown. It flowers December to February. Photo #1 by Cameron McMaster taken on Mt. Thomas in the Eastern Cape in the Amatola Mountains, South Africa. The other photos were taken at Satansnek Pass January 2010 by Cameron McMaster and Mary Sue Ittner.