disa, noun

Origin:
Modern Latin, Latin, GreekShow more Modern Latin, named by Swedish botanist P.J. Bergius in his thesis Descriptiones Plantarum ex Capite Bonae Spei (1767); etymology obscure, perhaps Latin dis rich; or Greek disa goddess; or named for the dísir, female deities in Norse mythology.
a. Any of several species of orchid of the genera Disa and Herschelia of the Orchidaceae, especially the Pride of Table Mountain, D. uniflora. Also attributive.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 220Among these the Orchis grandiflora, or Disa uniflora..was conspicuous by its beautiful flowers.
1844 Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 1787–1844 LXX. 4091 (heading)Horned-flowered Disa.
1890 Watson & Bean Orchids 235A position in a house which suits cool Odontoglossums will be found agreeable to Disas.
1913 H. Tucker Our Beautiful Peninsula 93None of them can vie in splendour with the pride of Table Mountain which the summer season brings — the great scarlet disa, whose regal blossoms: ‘Hover like moths on broad and crimson wings’ over the streams that cleave the deep gorges on the mountain summit.
1953 M.L. Wicht in Jrnl of Botanical Soc. of S. Afr. XXXIX. 13Disa uniflora, the most famous of the disas, lines the stream-banks, and it was with great joy that we beheld a cluster of these bright orchids casting their red reflections on the surface of a clear, calm pool.
1981 Flying Springbok Sept. 17Amongst the orchids will be Disa uniflora, the Pride of Table Mountain, Flower of the Gods, first described in 1767...Of the 434 indigenous species of orchids found in South Africa at least 100 of them are Disa species, ranging in colour from pinkish red, bright scarlet, deep crimson, orange, white, blue and yellow.
1988 A. Pillans in S. Afr. Panorama Oct. 22The disa was given its name by the Swedish botanist, Pêter Jonas Bergius (1730–1790). He never explained why he chose the name when he established it in his thesis Descriptiones Plantarum ex Capite Bonae Spei.
b. With distinguishing epithet, denoting a particular species of orchid of the genera Disa and Herschelia, as:
blue disa, H. graminifolia;
drip disa [see quotations c1951 and 1983], also called mauve disa, D. longicornis;
red disa, the Pride of Table MountainD. uniflora.
Note:
References to other species such as the cluster disa, early blue disa, green-bearded disa, lilac disa, vlei disa, and yellow disa are found mainly in specialist publications.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 23D. graminifolia, the Blue Disa.
c1933 J. Juta in A.C. Partridge Lives, Lett. & Diaries (1971) 163The beautifully formed blue disa is found among reeds both on mountains and flats, where there is a good rainfall.
1967 Some Protected Wild Flowers of Cape Prov. (Cape Prov. Admin.) Pl.181Herschelia graminifolia. Blue Disa..Summer..Western and South-western Cape.
1985 A. Tredgold Bay between Mountains 181The blue disas growing erect out of the sand, white everlastings in great clumps.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 154Drip disa, The popular name of Disa longicornu.
c1951 Rice & Compton Wild Flowers of Cape of G.H. Pl.171Disa longicornu. Drip Disa, Mauve Disa...Growing out horizontally from moist rocky faces in the mountain cloud-belt,..rare.
1967 Some Protected Wild Flowers of Cape Prov. (Cape Prov. Admin.) Pl.175Drip Disa, Mauve Disa..Summer..Western Cape.
1989 Motorist Aug. 21The summit of Table Mountain alone supports over 1 000 species of flowering plants, including an orchid found no-where else on earth — the fragile blue drip disa.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 23D. longicornu, the Mauve or Drip [disa].
1983 M.M. Kidd Cape Peninsula 40Disa longicornis. Mauve Disa, Drip Disa..local on wet shaded rocky cliffs on Table Mountain and Constantiaberg.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 23Disa, A large genus of S.A. orchids. The best known species are: D. uniflora, the Large red - (Pride of T. Mt.); D. graminifolia, [etc.].
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 19Twenty years later Thunberg admired the red disa on Table Mountain.
1968 M. Muller Green Peaches Ripen 16The mossy rocks were bejewelled with hundreds of red disas — the most beautiful and opulent of South African orchids.
1984 A. Wannenburgh Natural Wonder of Sn Afr. 80The red disa, pride of Table Mountain, is a ground orchid which grows in wet clefts in the rock and on the banks of mountain streams.
1992 S. Johnson in Afr. Wildlife Vol.46 No.4, 177Marloth’s most celebrated discovery was that the magnificent red disa (Disa uniflora), widely known as the emblem of the Mountain Club of South Africa and the Western Province Rugby Union, is pollinated by [the butterfly] Meneris.
Any of several species of orchid of the genera Disa and Herschelia of the Orchidaceae, especially the Pride of Table Mountain, D. uniflora. Also attributive.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

17951992