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 A-Ce are found on this page.
Disa aconitoides is found in grassland and forest margins from the Southern Cape to Malawi. It grows from 25 to 50 cm and has flowers that are white to pale mauve with darker spots and with a deeply hooded upper petal. It blooms late spring-early summer. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in the Eastern Cape.
Disa atricapilla is a winter rainfall species from 5-30 cm that grows in marshy places on flats and slopes from the Western Cape to the Karoo Mountain area (Cederberg Mountains to the Cape Peninsula to the Swartberg Mountains). Flowers are multicolored: white, red and black. This species blooms late spring to summer. Photo by Rod Saunders.
Disa bivalvata is a winter rainfall species that grows from 10-45 cm. It is widespread from 0 to 2000 m from the western Cape to the southeastern Cape where it is found in marshes and damp mountain slopes. It has white and dark red flowers and blooms spring to summer. Photo by Rod Saunders.
Disa bracteata is found in moist, open, sandy places on flats and in mountains and in disturbed grassland and roadsdes in the Western and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Growing from 15 to 50 cm, it has many small greenish tinged maroon flowers in a dense spike and blooms September to November. Photos taken by Cameron McMaster near Napier in the Overberg.
Disa brevicornis is found in grassland from Knysna in the southern Cape to Malawi. Flowers in a dense spike are brown and green. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken at Mt. Kubusie in the Amatola Mountains and Satansnek Pass, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Disa cephalotes subsp. cephalotes grows from 15 to 40 cm tall and is found in dry or damp grassland in the Eastern Cape, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. It has hard narrow leaves and a dense compact roundish inflorescence of white flowers with purplish red spots on the hood. It blooms in summer. Photos 1-2 taken at Mafika-Lisiu Pass and 3-5 at Sentinel Peak in the Drakensberg by Cameron McMaster.
Disa cephalotes subsp. frigida is found in small or large colonies on damp or dry grass slopes in the Drakensberg. It grows from 15 to 20 cm and has soft lower leaves clustered at the base and a dense compact inflorescence of deep pink flowers that have purple speckles on the tips of the sepals. It flowers in summer.