Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thelymitra pauciflora

Thelymitra pauciflora - Slender Sun Orchid in the Pilliga Forests

Family: Orchidaceae

Common name: Slender Sun Orchid

Flower and stem: Thelymitra pauciflora varies from a slender plant with 2 or 3 small flowers to a larger plant about 50cm high with numerous flowers. The flower is bluish, with white to bluish column, topped with yellow. Column arms are tipped with tufts of dense white hairs. They have a single fleshy grass-like basal leaf about 20mm wide by 20cm long. It flowers from late winter to mid summer.

Habit: Thelymitra are perennial ground orchids that die back to underground tubers during the hot dry months. Flowers only open on sunny warm days, staying closed on cloudy days.

Habitat: Thelymitra pauciflora will grow in a variety of conditions, usually as individuals or loose groups. In the Pilliga it can be found in rock crevices and ridge gravel where water seeps in the growing season. It could also grow in open woodland. The Slender Sun Orchid is also found in coastal heaths of NSW, and in Qld, Vic, Tas, WA, and SA.

Bud of Slender Sun Orchid
Top side of leaf of Thelymitra pauciflora

Underside of leaf of Thelymitra pauciflora
More information:
Taxonomy of Thelymitra