Disa forficaria, not seen for 50 years, and rediscovered in Fernkloof Nature Reserve in 2016.
Orchids, numbering about 26 000 species, comprise the largest family of flowering plants worldwide. South Africa has close to 500 species, about 90% of which are terrestrial (growing on the ground) others are epiphytic (growing on trees or shrubs). There are 241 species in the Cape Floral Region, an unusually high number for a temperate region. Fernkloof Nature Reserve has recorded 81 species.
Response to fire
Many terrestrial orchids in the fynbos biome have adapted to fire by flowering only in the first year after fire. By so doing these orchids gain the advantage of seeding into an environment that is relatively free from competition by other plants. A few species, such as Disa ferruginea and Disa graminifolia, are not fire dependent and will flower in mature fynbos vegetation. MORE…