AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Fynbos
FynbosAs a result of the geological and climatic diversity of this mountainous region many species have a restricted distribution and specialized habitat requirement. The best-known orchid from this region is the summer-flowering Disa uniflora . The species is abundant on Table Mountain near Cape Town, where its common name 'Pride of Table Mountain' originated. D. uniflora occurs from near sea level to about 1200 m altitude in the summer mist-belt. Also many other species in the genus Disa grow in mountain fynbos vegetation, together with Holothrix, Satyrium, Ceratandra, Pterygodium and Corycium species. Also Evotella rubiginosa and the two Pachites species occur here, but are local or rare.
All these orchids occupy different habitats. Some are restricted to moss-covered cliffs and rock ledges, such as Disa maculate,D. richardiana, D. rosea, D. longicornu, Holothrix villosa var. condensata and Satyrium bracteatum. Others prefer deeper soil on mountain slopes, for example various Satyrium and Disa species as well as Acrolophia capensis and A. lamellata. Acrolophia barbata, Disa tenuicornis, D. sub-tenuicornis and several species of Disa sect. Disella can be found on steep south-facing slopes in the Langeberg mountains. Marsh species include Disa pillansii, D. racemosa, D. bivalvata, Satyrium rhynchanthum and several Ceratandra species. Disa uniflora, D. cardinalis, D. caules-cens, D. tripetaloides and D. aurata are stream-side plants and are frequently submerged when the streams flood. Flat, low-lying and sandy areas are often the home of Holothrix cernua,
Disa pygmaea, D. conferta and various Bartho-lina, Disperis, Corycium and Pterygodium species. Species of Disa sect. Herschelianthe are often found growing in clumps of reeds (Restionaceae) in such low-altitude areas. Shale slopes in dry fynbos areas near the West Coast are often inhabited by Disperis bolusiana. Some species are found in coastal sands, among them Bonatea speciosa, Corycium crispum and Acrolophia bolusiana.