Disa welwitschii Rchb. f.
subsp. welwitschii

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Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii

Photo: Alan Gardiner
Higher slopes at the base of Mt Namuli peak.

Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii

Photo: Alan Gardiner
Higher slopes at the base of Mt Namuli peak.

Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii

Photo: Alan Gardiner
Higher slopes at the base of Mt Namuli peak.

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Disa breyeri Schltr.
Disa calophylla Kraenzl.
Disa hyacintina Kraenzl.
Disa ignea Kraenzl.
Common names:
Frequency: Occasional
Status: Native
Terrestrial herb, 20-100 cm tall. Leaves 2-4 on a separate sterile shoot,semi-erect, linear-elliptic, 10-30 cm long, folded along the length, basal sheath often blotched with red. Leaves along the fertile shoot, lanceolate, 3-10 cm long, lanceolate, mostly sheathing, the basal 2 reduced to short sheaths blotched with red. Inflorescence 3-14 cm long, densely 20-100-flowered; bracts inconspicuous, as long as the ovaries or longer at the base of the inflorescence. Flowers bright orange-red to carmine. Dorsal sepal erect, forming a narrowly oblong to lanceolate hood, 4.5-11 mm long, with pendent spur, 3.5-6 mm long. Lateral sepals 5-9 mm long, obliquely oblong-ovate. Petals 2-lobed, anterior lobe 3-8 mm long, ovate, spreading, the upper margin incurved; posterior lobe c. one third longer than anterior lobe, ovate-lanceolate, often truncate. Lip pendent, linear, 4-12 mm long.
Derivation of specific name: welwitschii: named after the Austrian botanist, Friedrich Martin Welwitsch (1806-1872).
Habitat: In wet grassland and dambos areas.
Altitude range: (metres) 900 - 2400 m
Flowering time:Dec - Mar(Apr)
Worldwide distribution: Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: C,E
Growth form(s): Terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 14 October 2011

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 322. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 128.

Fibeck, W. & Dare, M. (1993). Terrestrial Orchids in Zimbabwe. Excelsa 16 Page 57.

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 80. as Disa welwitschii

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Page 164.

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Pages 114 - 115. (Includes a picture).

Linder, H.P. (1981). Taxonomic studies in the Disinae (Orchidaceae): IV A revision of Disa Berg. sect. Micranthae Lindl. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 51(3/4) Pages 301 - 306. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 95.

McMurtry, D., Grobler, L., Grobler, J. & Burns, S. (2008). Field Guide to the ORCHIDS of Northern South Africa and Swaziland Umdaus Press, PO Box 11059 Hatfield 0028 South Africa Pages 196 - 197. (Includes a picture).

Moriarty, A. (1975). Wild Flowers of Malawi Purnell & sons Cape Town. Pages 49 - 50. as Disa welwitschii (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 119.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1976). A Provisional Checklist of the Orchidaceae of Mozambique South African Journal of Botany 42(4) Page 390.

Summerhayes, V.S. (1964). African orchids XXIX Kew Bulletin 17(3) Pages 543 - 545. as Disa welwitschii

Other sources of information about Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii
Flora of Mozambique: Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii
Flora of Zambia: Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Disa welwitschii
African Plant Database: Disa welwitschii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Disa welwitschii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Disa welwitschii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Disa welwitschii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Disa welwitschii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Disa welwitschii
JSTOR Plant Science: Disa welwitschii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Disa welwitschii
Plants of the World Online: Disa welwitschii
Tropicos: Disa welwitschii
Wikipedia: Disa welwitschii

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Disa welwitschii subsp. welwitschii.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=117440, retrieved 28 May 2024

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