11 October 2010

'Little Eyebrows' Orchid

This little orchid, all of about 12 cm tall, is Disa ophrydea. It was growing half hidden under a clump of restios right on the top of Table Mountain and narrowly missed being squished by my backpack. It is pollinated by moths and even though it is unusual to have a red flower for moth pollinated flowers, its spicy strong scent in the evening attracts them.
Ophrydea is from the Greek ‘ophrus’ which means ‘with eyebrows’. And it does seem to have eyebrows. It is endemic to the Cape flora and usually flowers after a fire - occurring on mountain seeps. Flowering time is from October to November. Thanks to William Liltved for the identification. Look out for William Liltved's book - due out in 2011 - The Cape Orchids. It will be a beaut! (It is endorsed and supported by the Botanical Society too.)
More flowers around the world at Today's Flowers.


Judy said...

Wow! That is so unusual! And I like the flower graffiti in the next post, too!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Lovely orchids--nice macros~ :-D