Witch Orchid

Scientific Name
Disperis cucullata Sw.
Higher Classification
Common Names
Witch Orchid (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
A formerly widespread and relatively common species that has suffered extensive habitat loss. Locally extinct on the Cape Peninsula. Only about eight extant subpopulations have been recorded in the last 10 years, but there may be as many as 15 remaining, based on historical collections. Current EOO 7 800-11 780 km², continuing decline due to urban and agricultural expansion and alien plant invasion.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Western Cape lowlands from Citrusdal to Sir Lowry's Pass.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Saldanha Flats Strandveld, Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, Swartland Alluvium Fynbos
Sand Plain Fynbos and renosterveld, in seasonally damp areas on flats, 30-350 m.
This formerly common and widespread species have been affected by extensive habitat loss across its known range. Past threats include urban expansion and cultivation of wheat, fruit and vines. Ongoing habitat loss is mainly due to continued urban expansion, dense, severe alien infestations of the habitat in many areas but particularly around Darling-Mamre and expanding Rooibos tea and potato cultivation in the Graafwater-Hopefield area.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Disperis cucullata Sw.NT B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Liltved, W.R. and Johnson, S.D. Unpublished.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

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.

von Staden, L. 2008. Disperis cucullata Sw. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/18

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Distribution map

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