Disa welwitschii Rchb.f.
subsp. occultans (Schltr.) H.P.Linder

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Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

Habit
Wet dambo grassland
Kalonde Falls, Chipili area, Kawambwa Distr.
Feb 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

Inflorescence
Wet dambo grassland
Kalonde Falls, Chipili area, Kawambwa Distr.
Feb 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

Habit
Wet dambo grassland
Kalonde Falls, Chipili area, Kawambwa Distr.
Jan 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

Inflorescence
Wet dambo grassland
Kalonde Falls, Chipili area, Kawambwa Distr.
Jan 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

Flower
Wet dambo grassland
Kalonde Falls, Chipili area, Kawambwa Distr.
Jan 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Disa occultans Schltr.
Disa subaequalis Summerh.
Disa tanganyikensis Summerh.
Disa welwitschii var. occultans (Schltr.) Geerinck
Common names:
Frequency: Rare
Status: Native
Description:
Terrestrial herb, 20-100 cm tall. Leaves 2-4 on a separate sterile shoot,semi-erect, linear-elliptic, 10-30 cm long, folded along the length, basal sheath often blotched with red. Leaves along the fertile shoot, lanceolate, 3-10 cm long, lanceolate, mostly sheathing, the basal 2 reduced to short sheaths blotched with red. Inflorescence 3-14 cm long, densely 20-100-flowered; bracts inconspicuous, as long as the ovaries or longer at the base of the inflorescence. Flowers bright orange-red to carmine. Dorsal sepal erect, forming a narrowly oblong to lanceolate hood, 4.5-11 mm long, with pendent spur, 3.5-6 mm long. Lateral sepals 5-9 mm long, obliquely oblong-ovate. Petals 2-lobed, anterior lobe 3-8 mm long, ovate, spreading, the upper margin incurved; posterior lobe c. one third longer than anterior lobe, ovate-lanceolate, often truncate. Lip pendent, linear, 4-12 mm long.
Subspecies occultans differs in plants generally taller; dorsal sepal 5-11 mm long and lateral sepals 7-11.5(13) x 4-6(8) mm; petal posterior lobe generally as tall as or slightly taller that the anterior lobe, ± ovate lanceolate, acute; flowers pink or variations on pink, spur 5-9 mm long.
Type location:
Tanzania
Notes: The subspecies of the D. welwitschii complex intergrade in southern Tanzania, while in the Flora Zambesiaca area however, most collections can be determined with relative ease.
Derivation of specific name: welwitschii: named after the Austrian botanist, Friedrich Martin Welwitsch (1806-1872).
occultans: hidden or hiding.
Habitat: Wet dambo grasslands, but occupying a range of habitats over its whole distribution range.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Dec - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Malawi and Zambia
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,W
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,N
Growth form(s): Terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 19 April 2023
Literature:

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 322.

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Pages 164 - 165.

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Page 115. (Includes a picture).

Linder, H.P. (1981). Taxonomic studies in the Disinae (Orchidaceae): IV A revision of Disa Berg. sect. Micranthae Lindl. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 51(3/4) Pages 306 - 310. (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 119.

Stewart, J. & Campbell, B. (1996). Orchids of Kenya Timber Press Inc, Portland Oregon, USA ISBN0-88192-357-5 Pages 106 - 107. (Includes a picture).

Williamson, G. (1977). The Orchids of South Central Africa J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London. Pages 80 - 81. as Disa welwitschii (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Disa welwitschii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Disa welwitschii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Disa welwitschii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Disa welwitschii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Disa welwitschii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Disa welwitschii
JSTOR Plant Science: Disa welwitschii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Disa welwitschii
Plants of the World Online: Disa welwitschii
Tropicos: Disa welwitschii
Wikipedia: Disa welwitschii


Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Disa welwitschii subsp. occultans.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=209470, retrieved 2 March 2024

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