African Plant Database

Disa erubescens Rendle
Information on the genus : Disa
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Homotypic
 Disa erubescens Rendle subsp. erubescens
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Disa erubescens var. leucantha Schltr.
Taxon infra-specific
Disa erubescens subsp. carsonii (N.E. Br.) H.P. Linder
Disa erubescens Rendle subsp. erubescens
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Terrestrial herb, “spectacular”, 15-100 cm tall; tubers ovoid, 1,5-3x1-2 cm; sterile stem very short, to 12 cm long, with 2-3 red-spotted basal sheaths and 2-3 linear leaves 10-3x0,3-2 cm; flowering stem long, with 6-16 appressed sheathing leaves, the lowest red-spotted, the largest 2,5-5,5x1-1,5 cm; inflorescence lax, 5-15 cm long, 4-7 cm Ø, 1-6-12-flowered; flowers erect, scarlet and orange, rarely pure yellow, inside of hood and upper petal lobes orange-yellow spotted (leopard-spotted) with red; bracts 30-70 mm long, leaf-like, pedicel and ovary 15-30 mm long; dorsal sepal 25-50 mm long, incl. claw 20-25 mm long, blade ovate 12x9-15 mm, with spur arising just below middle, upcurved, 8-16 mm long, filiform, pendent; lateral sepals 15-40x6-15 mm; petals erect, 25-50 mm long, 2-lobed, with cordate base and upper part drawn into a long twisted appendage; lip linear, acute, 15-20x1-2,5 mm, pendulous or curving forwards.
Ecology : Short grassland with poor drainage, seepage areas, wet grassland, bog, swamp; on moss and grass-covered seepage rocks in grassland; between rocks on mountain tops; grassy and rocky savanna; montane forest; open grassland; regularly burnt grassland; ericaceous shrub on quartzite rocks; 1000-1800-3050 m alt.
  In Zaire the tubers are made into a salep for children (Burkill, Useful pl. W. Trop. Afr., ed. 2, 4: 318, 1997), and used for chikanda in Zambia (Bingham & al. in Veld & Flora 89: 17 with photo., 2003; Veldman & al. in TRAFFIC Bull. 26/2: 47-50, 2014).
  “Plants at the extremes of the size range involved do look rather different, there is a complete range of intermediates and many specimens fall exactly on the overlap between the two subspecies” (I. la Croix & al., Orchids Malawi: 117-118, 1991). – Comprises 2 subspp.: - subsp. erubescens [syn.: D. erubescens var. leucantha Schltr.], with inflorescence usually 3-6-flowered, dorsal sepal < 30 mm long; - subsp. carsonii (N. E. Br.) H. P. Linder [bas.: D. carsonii N. E. Br.; syn.: D. erubescens var. carsonii (N. E. Br.) Geerinck; D. stolzii Schltr.; D. erubescens var. katangensis sensu Geerinck 1974, p.p., quoad. spec. Malaisse 4860, non (De Wild.) Geerinck], with inflorescence 1-4-flowered, dorsal sepal > 30 mm long, occurring in wetter areas. Note: Geerinck in Taxonom. 32: 21, 2011, considers D. katangensis De Wild. as a subspecies of D. erubescens rather than a distinct species: D. erubescens subsp. katangensis (De Wild.) Geerinck, l.c. The latter grows at lower altitudes in Angola-Zaire-Zambia (See D. katangensis below).
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Record n°128986
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