PICS: Rare orchid discovered in Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Cape Town - A rare orchid, which was last seen in the Western Cape in 1966, has been rediscovered in Fernkloof Nature Reserve on Wednesday, 9 March. 

According the the Fernkloof Indigenous Nursery's Facebook page, the exquisite plant was discovered by Fran Jordaan, who informed Liz Hutton of The Hermanus Botanical Society of the discovery. 

Hutton, suspected the flower to be the rare orchid specie, then contacted orchid expert and co-author of the book 'The Cape Orchids', Bill Liltved, who "could not get into his car quick enough to come out to Fernkloof to photograph it". 

Liltved immediately identified the flower as a Disa forficaria, a species which was last seen in the Western Cape in 1966. 

He described the experience as "the highlight of [his] botanical career".  

(Photos by Ronnie Hazel as posted to Fernkloof Indigenous Nursery)

According to Lee Burman of the Fernkloof Indigenous Nursery, the flower has only ever been seen about half dozen times, and is a very, very rare sight. 

It stands about 25cm high, and would typically be found in fynbos vegetation similar to that found in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. 

Burman says there might be other species in the area, as expect Bill Liltved could see that the flower they spotted had been pollinated. 

They were unable to spot another plant in the area, unfortunately. 

Hikers in the area who suspect they have spotted a similar flower, or other flowers they are unable to identify, can contact the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

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