The Sun Orchids
Thelymitra orchids or as they are commonly called ‘Sun Orchids’ and are often given descriptive names such as ‘Giant sun Orchid’ which is Thelymitra aristata and ‘Nude Sun Orchid’ which Thelymitra nuda.
They are a group of deciduous terrestrial native orchids, mostly found in open heathlands, the flowers open only on sunny hot days and remain closed during cloudy or cool conditions, hence the common name. A few hybrids are beginning to appear including ‘Kay Nessbitt’.
The blue sun orchids with their powdery blue flowers are mostly from Western Australia with T. macrophylla, being common. The fragrance is sweet and the flowers appear on tall stems with over 25 individual flowers on a stalk.
Not widely found in cultivation as most are difficult. They are summer dormant, and therefore the requirements of warmth and sun in late summer to autumn are conditions not always easy to meet. This summer dormancy also require very dry conditions.
As soon as the flowers emerge regular watering is required, and this should continue until the foliage begins to die back.
They require a very well drained soil and potting mixes with 60% perlite and 40% organic matter are not uncommon.
- T. aristata is one of the larger growing species reaching around 1m hence the name ‘giant sun orchid’. Found from the coastal areas of Western Victoria through to the Grampians, South Australia and into NSW.
- T. antennifera is native to Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria smaller growing with attractive yellow flowers.
T. ixioides is the Blue Spotted Sun Orchid.
- T. nuda (pictured lower right)
- T. fragrans (picture top right)
- T. arenaria – The forest sun orchid.
- T. carnea – The pink sun orchid which is a self pollinating species
- T. crinita – This is one of the blue sun orchids.
- T. campanulata – Also blue however with paler blue stripes on the petals.
- T. media – Commonly known as the tall sun orchid. Many blue flowers on a tall spike usually in early December.
If you are interested in Thelymitra species it would be well worth joining the Australian Native Orchid Society, a wealth of information, very interesting flower shows, often with a variety of species foe sale that you may well find nowhere else.
No Vendors for Thelymitra orchids at present.