Disperis virginalis Schltr.

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Disperis virginalis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Fields' Cottage, Ezulwini, nr Mt Rukotso

Disperis virginalis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba.

Disperis virginalis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba.

Disperis virginalis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba.

Disperis virginalis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba.

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

Synonyms: Disperis nelsonii Rolfe
Common names:
Frequency: Locally frequent.
Status: Native
Slender terrestrial herb up to 25 cm high but usually smaller. Leaves 2, more or less opposite,ovate, 2-7.5 cm long. Inflorescence 1-3-flowered. Flowers usually white (in ours), sometimes with purple spots, elsewhere also pale to deep pink. Dorsal sepal linear, 10-13 mm long, joined with the petals to form an open hood. Lateral sepals 8-10 mm long, joined near the base, spreading, each with a curved sac-like spur, 1.5-2.5 mm long. Lip erect with a claw c. 6 mm long and a recurved papillose appendage, dilated into 4 spreading lobes or 2 bifid lobes at the apex.
Derivation of specific name: virginalis: pure white. Although flowers in zimbabwe usually are white this name appears somewhat strange since the type was from South Africa and flowers there are normally pink.
Habitat: On shaded floors in montane evergreen forest and under pine plantations, sometimes on mossy rocks in forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 1500 - 1950 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Eastern Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: 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: Sunday 5 April 2015

Ball, J.S. (2009). Terrestrial African Orchids, A Selected Review. Pages 98 - 99. (Includes a picture).

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.

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Page 247.

Linder, H.P. & Kurzweil, H. (1999). Orchids of Southern Africa A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands ISBN 90-5410-445-7 Pages 302 - 303. (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 252 - 253. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Disperis virginalis:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Disperis virginalis

External websites:

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

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: Disperis virginalis.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=117860, retrieved 21 February 2024

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