African Plant Database

Disa robusta N.E. Br.
Protologue : Fl. Trop. Afr. [Oliver et al.] 7(2): 282 (1898)
Information on the genus : Disa
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Disa coccinea Kraenzl. (1904)
=Disa praestans Kraenzl. (1904)
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Terrestrial herb; tubers ± ovoid, 1,5-5x1,5-3,5 cm; sterile stem 5-14 cm tall with 1-3 lanceolate ± acute leaves 8-29x2-6 cm, at apex; flowering stem 60-85 cm tall, leafy; cauline leaves 9-13, imbricate, ± completely sheathing, 5-10x1,5-3 cm, grading into floral bracts; inflorescence 7-30 cm long, lax to dense, 10-20(-40) cm long; flowers facing down, orange-red to vermilion with darker blotches, 35-40 mm Ø (60-70 mm when expanded); bracts leaf-like, lanceolate, 15-55 mm long; pedicel and ovary 20-30 mm long; dorsal sepal deeply concave, elongate-conical, 10-20x9-12 mm (-35 mm when flattened), hood 7-8 mm deep, with spur 5-50 mm long, horizontal from a conical base (the spur often not separable from the remainder), constricted at middle, apex sub-clavate, ascending; lateral sepals spreading, elliptical, 8-18x8-11 mm; petals falcate, 9-18x2-5,5 mm, inside hood; lip narrowly oblong, 7-12x1-2,5 mm, pendent.
Ecology : Grassland, often rich in herbs, in damper areas; dambos usually around the edge; seepage slopes; open spaces in Brachystegia woodland; ericaceous shrub on quartzite rocks; mountain forest; 900-3500 m alt.
  “One of the commonest and most typical orchids of the grassland up to 2700 m…” (Cribb & Leedal, o.c.: 203). “One of the most striking species of Disa and always attracts attention” (la Croix & al., Orchids Malawi: 123, 1991). Readily distinguished by the ascending spur. The tubers are used for chikanda, and the species is threatened (Orchid Rev. 123/1309: 7, 2015).

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Exell, A. & Wild, H. (1995). Flora Zambesiaca: Mozambique, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Bechuanaland Protectorate. London Kew 11[1]: 184
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Record n°43393
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