AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Grassland
Kalahari Northern Cape South AfricaThe grasslands in the eastern half of southern Africa generally provide good habitats for terrestrial orchids. They are found throughout the region, from near sea level to over 3000 m in the upper part of the Drakensberg. Species of Habenaria and Eulophia are mostly plants of lower altitudes and also species of Brachycorythis, Bonatea, Disa and Satyrium are found here. The foothills and upper reaches of the mountains provide suitable habitats for Neobolusia tysonii, Disa brevicomis, Corycium nigrescens and several species of Disperis. Satyrium hallackii subsp. ocellatum favours wetter grasslands or vleis, and can be quite plentiful in places. Fortunate enthusiasts may also encounter the widespread but usually rather uncommon Disa comuta. Above 2000 m species of Satyrium,Disa, Corycium, Pterygodium and Holothrix abound, especially if the grass has been burnt in the previous season. Brownleea and Disperis species as well as Huttonaea grandiflora also occur here occasionally. Rock outcrops within the grassland areas provide protection from predators which excavate the tubers. They are therefore good habitats for orchids, particularly Schizochilus species frequently grow in such spots. Wet cliffs in this region provide a habitat for various Holothrix and Disa species and for the curious Dracomonticola virgínea (formerly Neobolusia virgínea).