Brownleea parviflora Harv. ex Lindl., London J. Bot. 1: 16 (1842).
Disa parviflora (Harv. ex Lindl.) Rchb.f., Otia Bot. Hamburg.: 119 (1881).
Disa alpina Hook.f., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 7: 220 (1864).
Disa preussii Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 17: 64 (1893).
Disa apetala Kraenzl. in H.G.A.Engler (ed.), Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas, C: 153 (1895).
Brownleea alpina (Hook.f.) N.E.Br. in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 287 (1898).
Brownleea apetala (Kraenzl.) N.E.Br. in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 287 (1898).
Brownleea nelsonii Rolfe in W.H.Harvey & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Cap. 5(3): 262 (1913).
Brownleea woodii Rolfe in W.H.Harvey & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Cap. 5(3): 263 (1913).
Brownleea gracilis Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 53: 545 (1915).
Brownleea perrieri Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 102 (1924).
Brownleea transvaalensis Schltr., Ann. Transvaal Mus. 10: 250 (1924).
A terrestrial herb 2-6.5 dm. high, glabrous except at the base; tubers ellipsoid, 1-3 cm. long, 6-18 mm. in diameter, glabrous or ± densely tomentose; roots flexuous, pubescent. Stem erect, slender, terete, distantly leafy, glabrous. Leaves 3-6, the lowest I or 2 closely sheathing, brownish, ± chaffy, covered with stiff spreading hairs, the next I or 2 erect, lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, acute, up to 7-22 cm. long and 0.5-2.5(-3.5) cm. broad, the uppermost much smaller, similar to the bracts, all the upper ones glabrous. Inflorescence cylindrical, 3.5-16 cm. long, 1-5-2(-2.5) cm. in diameter, very densely many-flowered. Bracts narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, acuminate, 0.5-3.5 cm. long, the lower ones, and sometimes most of the others, longer than the flowers. Flowers suberect, white to lilac, mauve or violet, or marked with these colours on a white base; ovary almost sessile (pedicel very short), 4-6 mm. long. Dorsal sepal erect or incurved, lanceolate, convex, running out into a recurved spur below the middle at the back, 3.5-5.5 mm. long, ± 2 mm. broad when spread out, from base to apex of spur 4-7 mm. long, the spur cylindrical or slightly widened from a narrower base; laterals spreading downwards, oblong-lanceolate or oblong-oblance-olate, acute, joined together at first but becoming almost free later, 3- 4.5 mm. long, 1.5-3 mm. broad. Petals erect, adherent to the dorsal sepal along their back margins, obliquely triangular-quadrate, rounded or obtuse, 2.5-4 mm. long, ± 2 mm. broad. Lip very small, linear or oblong, obtuse, turned up in front of the stigma, ± 1 mm. long and 0.3 mm. broad. Column very short; anther horizontal, 1-1.5 mm. long, auricles erect, rugulose; stigma suborbicular, ± 1 mm. in diameter, rostellum erect, rather fleshy, notched in the upper part with the 2 viscidia on each side of the notch.
Montane and submontane woodlands and grasslands. October-March.
As given for the genus, cool to cold growing terrestrial.
There is a sheet deposited at W-R (nr. 35902) comprising two flowers in the envelope which probably has been taken from the lectotype of Brownleea parviflora and notes made by Reichenbach including information taken from the original herbarium label.
Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swazi- land, Republic of South Africa, Madagascar. Alt. 650-2400 m.
Encylopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Genera Orchidacearum Vol 2 Part One Pridgeon, Cribb, Chase and Rasmussen 2001; A molecular phylogeny for the large African orchid genus Disa Bytebier 2006; Orchids of Madagascar Hermans 2007; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Herman 2009, Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; Flora of Tropical East Africa Summerhayes Orchidaceae Part 1 1968
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