Scientific Name
Disa nubigena H.P.Linder
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Assessment Date
B. Bytebier, W.R. Liltved, R.C. Turner & L. von Staden
An extremely rare orchid, currently known from only two subpopulations, but possibly overlooked elsewhere in the Cape mountains due to the remoteness of its habitat as well as very sporadic flowering. A subpopulation on Table Mountain failed to flower after two successive fires, but it is not known whether the subpopulation has declined or this species requires very specific conditions to flower. The other known subpopulation is not threatened.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Cape Peninsula to the Hex River Mountains
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, South Hex Sandstone Fynbos
Sandstone fynbos, 1000-1800 m.
This is a very rare and poorly known species, which appears to flower only sporadically. Its biology is still poorly understood. It is not known whether a subpopulation on Table Mountain has declined or is merely dormant. A second locality recently discovered in the Hex River Mountains near Worcester is not threatened.

This species was discovered after a fire on Table Mountain in 1997, when four flowering individuals and several sterile plants were seen in a single locality. After another fire in the early 2000s, no plants could be found. The site burnt again in 2009, but again, no plants could be found. In 2008, a single plant was found at high altitude in the Hex River Mountains, indicating that this species has a wider distribution than previously thought. This plant was found in remote, inaccessible montane areas, indicating that this species quite likely occurs more widely in the Cape mountains, but may be overlooked due to very sporadic flowering.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Disa nubigena H.P.LinderCR D2012.1
Disa nubigena H.P.LinderCR DRaimondo et al. (2009)
Disa nubigena H.P.LinderVU D2Victor (2002)

Liltved, W.R. and Johnson, S.D. Unpublished. The Cape Orchids - Wild orchids of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Linder, H.P. 1999. Disa. In: H.P. Linder and H. Kurzweil (eds.), Orchids of southern Africa (pp. 187-288), A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Linder, H.P. and Linder Smith, C. 1999. Disa nubigena. Flowering Plants of Africa 56:42-45.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Bytebier, B., Liltved, W.R., Turner, R.C. & von Staden, L. 2012. Disa nubigena H.P.Linder. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/18

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Distribution map

© R.C. Turner

© R.C. Turner

© R.C. Turner

© R.C. Turner

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