(pronounced: DEE-sah; DYE-sah)


Diseae subtribe Disinae

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Terrestrials or lithophytes growing in rock crevices, arising from tubers or tuberous roots, with some species forming colonies by stolons. Stems erect, leafy at the base, some species producing both sterile and fertile shoots. Leaves linear and grass-like to elliptic-lanceolate, basal, +/- cauline. Inflorescences terminal racemes, laxly few-flowered to densely cylindric racemes, the floral bracts lanceolate, usually subequal to the ovaries. Flowers usually resupinate. Sepals free, the dorsal sepal hood-like, +/- a spur, the spur short to much elongate, the petals asymmetrically bilobed, often fused to the column. Lip unlobed, sessile to exceedingly long-clawed, without callus, often with a dissected margin. Column short, the rostellum three-lobed; pollinia 2.


A name of obscure origin.


A genus of about 130 species from Tropical and South Africa with four species in Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands. As currently circumscribed Disa in the broad sense includes plants formerly commonly classified as Herschelia, Herschelianthe, and Monad

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Augustyn, O. P. H. 1978. Herschelia, an indigenous genus worthy of attention. S. Afr. Orchid J. 9(4):107-108.

Clements, M. A. 1983. Monadenia bracteata, the correct name for Monadenia micrantha. Orchadian 7(8):196.

Duckworth, A. 1997. Jewels of Veld and Vlei, no. 2, Disa crassicornis. S. Afr. Orchid J. 28(4):132.

Duckworth, A. 1998. Jewels of Veld and Vlei, no. 4, Herschelianthe purpurascens and Herschelianthe barbata. S. Afr. Orchid J. 29(2):30.

Gassner, A. 1982. Observations on the pollination of Disa stolzii in southern Malawi. Orchid Rev. 90:230.

Geerinck, D. 1974. Notes taxonomiques sur des Orchidacees d’Afrique centrale, II: Disa Berg. Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belg. 107:61-71.

Hylander, N. 1958. The generic name Disa once again. Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat, Brux. 28:450-453.

Johnson, S. D. 1993. Red Disas and brown butterflies. S. Afr. Orchid J. 24(1):9-12.

Johnson, S. D. 1993. Carpenter bee pollination of Herschelianthe graminifolia (Orchidaceae) on the Cape Peninsula. Flora 188:383-386.

Johnson, S. D. 1997. Self-pollination in Disa woodii. S. Afr. Orchid J. 28(3):94.

Johnson, S. D. and H. P. Linder 1995. Systematics and evolution of the Disa draconis complex (Orchidaceae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 118:289-307.

Johnson, S. D. and K. E. Steiner 1995. Long-proboscid fly pollination of two orchids in the Cape Drakensberg mountains, South Africa. Plant Syst. Evol. 195:169-175.

Johnson, S. D., K. E. Steiner and V. B. Whitehead 1998. Phylogeny and adaptive radiation of pollination systems in Disa (Orchidaceae). Amer. Journ. Bot. 85:402-411.

Karnehl, J. F. 1992. Disa cultivation -- made easy. Schlechteriana 4/92:143-147.

Kidson, S. and E. Fletcher 1984. Disa zuluensis Rolfe. S. Afr. Orchid J. 15(4):144-145.

Kidson, S. and E. Fletcher 1989. Our heritage, South African orchid species, Disa amoena Linder. S. Afr. Orchid J. 20(3):64-65.

Kidson, S. and E. Fletcher 1990. Our heritage, Disa rhodantha Schltr. S. Afr. Orchid J. 21(1):40-41.

Kidson, S. and E. Fletcher 1991. Our heritage, Monadenia brevicornis Lindl. S. Afr. Orchid J. 22(2):44-45.

Kurzweil, H. and S. Johnson 1993. Auto-pollination in Monadenia bracteata. S. Afr. Orchid J. 24(1):21-22.

Kurzweil, H., W. R. Liltved and H. P. Linder 1997. Disa introrsa sp. nov. (Orchidaceae) from the Western Cape of South Africa with notes on the phylogeny of Disa sect. Disella. Nord. J. Bot. 17(4):353-360.

Light, M. H. S. 1998. Pollinating Disa and raising seedlings. Orchid Rev. 106(1220):103-106.

Linder, H. P. 1979. Another Rhodesian Disa in South Africa. S. Afr. Orchid J. 10(2):52-53.

Linder, H. P. 1980. Disa cardinalis Linder (Orchidaceae), a new species from the Cape Province. J. S. Afr. Bot. 46(2):213-215.

Linder, H. P. 1981. Taxonomic studies in the Disinae (Orchidaceae), III. A revision of Disa Berg. excluding sect. Micranthae Lindl. Contr. Bolus Museum 9:1-370.

Linder, H. P. 1981. Taxonomic studies in the Disinae (Orchidaceae), IV. A revision of Disa Berg. sect. Micranthae Lindl. Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 51:255-346.

Linder, H. P. 1981. Orchidaceae -- Disa. Distr. Pl. Africa 22:727-751.

Linder, H. P. 1981. Taxonomic studies in the Disinae, V. A revision of the genus Monadenia. Bothalia 13(3-4):339-363.

Linder, H. P. 1981. Taxonomic studies in the Disinae, VI. A revision of the genus Herschelia. Bothalia 13(3-4):365-388.

Linder, H. P. 1984. A new species of Disa (Orchidaceae). J. S. Afr. Bot. 50(2):261-263.

Linder, H. P. 1985. A new name for Disa patens. Bothalia 15(3-4):553.

Linder, H. P. 1985. ? Herscheliodisa vogelpoelii. S. Afr. Orchid J. 16(3):102-104.

Linder, H. P. 1985. Notes on the orchids of southern tropical Africa, I. Brownleea and Herschelia. Kew Bull. 40(1):125-129.

Linder, H. P. 1986. Notes on the Disinae for the flora of southern Africa. Bothalia 16(1):56-57.

Linder, H. P. 1988. Taxonomic notes on some orchids from the southwestern Cape Province, South Africa. S. Afr. J. Bot. 54:498-500.

Linder, H. P. 1990. Hybrids in Disa (Diseae -- Orchidoideae). Lindleyana 5(4):224-230.

Linder, H. P. 1990. Notes on a rare Cape Disa. Bothalia 20(2):216-217.

Linder, H. P. 1999. Disa. pp. 187-288 in Orchids of southern Africa.A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

McMurty, D. 1983. Good, Better, Best Black, notes on the discovery of Herschelia lugens var. nigrescens. S. Afr. Orchid J. 14(2):36-38.

McMurty, D. 1984. A new Transvaal Disa species. S. Afr. Orchid J. 15(3):90-92.

O’Connor, M. J. 1975. Disas of Natal’s veld and vlei. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 44(1):4-19.

O’Connor, M. J. 1978. A new species of orchid for South Africa. S. Afr. Orchid J. 9:4-6.

Orchard, E. R. and L. Vogelpoel 1982. Disa marlothii, a new introduction. S. Afr. Orchid J. 13(3):66-68.

Orchard, W. 2000. Disas. Orchids 69(7):634-644.

Pattersson, B. 1985. The etymology of the generic name Disa Bergius (Orchidaceae). Taxon 34(3):457-461.

Peters, H. 1991. Wilted cabbage leaves, Herschelianthe spatulata spp. tripartita (Lindl.) Linder. S. Afr. Orchid J. 22(1):12.

Schick, B. 1988. Zur anatomie und Biotechnik des Bestaubungsapparates der Orchideen, 1. Dactylorhiza majalis (Rchb.) Hunt et Summerh., Disa uniflora Bergius und Oncidium hastatum Lindl. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 110:215-262.

Sheehan, T. and M. Sheehan 1983. Orchid Genera Illustrated 94, Disa. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(7):694-695.

Stewart, J. 1979. A dozen distinctive Disas. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 48(9):913-922.

Stewart, J. 1988. 94. Disa cardinalis. Kew Mag. 5:15-18.

Stewart, J. and J. C. Manning 1982. A new Disa hybrid in Natal. S. Afr. Orchid J. 13(2):35-41.

Tournay, R. 1957. Orchidaceae africanae, II. L’etymologie du nom de genre Disa Berg. Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat, Brux. 27:675-678.

Vlok, J. H. J. 1985. A new Disa species (Orchidaceae) from the southern Cape. S. Afr. J. Bot. 51:335-338.

Vogelpoel, L. 1980. Disa species and their hybrids. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 49:1084-1092.

Vogelpoel, L. 1985. ? Herscheliodisa vogelpoelii, a new natural intergeneric hybrid from Table Mountain, Cape Town. S. Afr. Orchid J. 16(3):98-101.

Vogelpoel, L. 1985. Recent Disa hybrids 1, parent species and intraspecific breeding. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 54(3):294-305.

Vogelpoel, K. 1993. The blue Disas. S. Afr. Orchid J. 24(3):66-72.

Vogelpoel, K. 1993. The blue Disas, part 2. S. Afr. Orchid J. 24(4):98-104.

Vogelpoel, L. 1994. Herschelianthe spathulata and its successful conservation by a landowner. S. Afr. Orchid J. 25(1):9-13.

Vogelpoel, L. 1994. Meneris tulbaghia, the exclusive pollinator and breeder of Disa uniflora and Disa ferruginea. S. Afr. Orchid J. 25(3):85-90.

Vogelpoel, L. 1997. The Disa draconis complex with special reference to pollination by long-proboscid flies and the horticultural potential of Disa harveiana. S. Afr. Orchid J. 28(3):77-85.

Vogelpoel, L., D. W. van der Merwe, and B. D. Anderson 1985. A white form of Disa racemosa, a rare mutant with a great future. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 54(1):47-51.

Williamson, G. 1977. The genus Disa in Zambia. S. Afr. Orchid J. 8(4):109-112.

Wodrich, K. 1995. A new natural hybrid from the Western Cape? S. Afr. Orchid J. 26(2):63-67.