Fernkloof Nature Reserve
Scientific name - Disa ferruginea
Common name - Cluster Disa
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Habitat Sandstone slopes in dry to damp places usually in the zone of the south-easter clouds
Altitude 750 to 1350m
Flowering time February to March
Description Plants grass-like up to 45cm, with linear basal leaves dry at flowering. The inflorescence is conical to cylindrical with numerous bright red to orange flowers, sometimes with some yellow. Dorsal sepal with slender spur 7-20mm long.
Disa ferruginea uses floral mimicry to ensure that plants are pollinated. The Disa closely resembles the nectar producing Tritoniopsis triticea which flowers at the same time. The 'mountain pride butterfly' Aeropetes visits the orchid expecting to feed on a supply of nectar, leaves unsatisfied, but does effect pollination.
ferrugineus from the Latin meaning 'rust-coloured' and referring to the orange colour of the flowers
2017 / 3 / 27