South African Orchid

South African Orchid
Deb Oliver
Common Name
South African Orchid
Scientific Name
Disa bracteata
Origin of Species
Leaf Description
Numerous grass-like leaves. Linear, erect to 5cm x 15cm long, fleshy, hairless. Alternating along flower stem and embracing the flowers. Purplish underneath along the lower stems.
General Description
A fleshy, green and brown orchid with up to 60 tiny brown, reddish-pink, green and yellow flowers with a yellow tongue-like labellum in a dense spike. Each flower is is surrounded by a modified leaf bract. Grows to 75cm high. Leaves are numerous and grass-like and purple underneath. It is the only invasive, non-native orchid in Victoria.
Flower Description
Up to 50 small yellow, green and brown flowers arranged in a dense spiral on fleshy stems, each to 4mm across. Dorsal sepal and petals united to form a red-brown hood. Lateral sepals spreading sideways and are yellow-green. A yellow tongue-like labellum. Each flower is surrounded by a modifed leaf-bract.

Flower Colour
Brown, reddish-pink and yellow
St Andrews, Christmas Hills
Flowering Months
Disturbed grasslands and heathlands.
Date of Last Record
Growing Conditions
Disturbed sites in various habitats. Has been identified in Nillumbik along roadsides, pasture and in bushland. Each plant produces millions of dust-like seeds and can rapidly colonise areas forming dense colonies.