Thelymitra peniculata

Blue Sun-orchid

Erect perennial herb with fleshy egg-shaped tubers. Stem purplish. Flowers do not open readily.

Additional information

  • SynonymSeparated from Thelymitra holmesii, Thelymitra pauciflora var. holmesii
  • FamilyOrchidaceae
  • StoreyLower storey
  • Size20-50 cm high
  • Plant groupingOrchids
  • LeavesErect single narrow, channelled, fleshy leaf, often with purplish base, 14-25 cm x 5-12 mm, sheathing at base of stem; usually 2 sheathing stem bracts.
  • Flower colourDeep purple
  • Flowering timeNovember
  • Flowers4-10 veined flowers to 22 mm across. Sepals and petals similar. Column purplish or pinkish with a blackish collar and yellow tip; curved mid lobe with deeply 2-lobed hood; column arms with sparse, semi-erect terminal tuft of white hairs.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatNo
  • Growing conditionsMoist to dry clay loams in open forests and grassy woodlands. Semi shade.
  • Garden useUse of orchids in gardens is not recommended, unless they already occur naturally, in which case they need to be protected. Removing orchids from the bush usually results in their death and further depletes remaining wild orchid populations.
  • Commercially availableRarely
  • Conservation statusSignificant within the Shire. Known from few local sites.
  • Aboriginal Use Food - tuber
  • Related speciesPreviously confused with T. holmesii which appears not to occur within the Shire. It prefers wetter conditions, flowers later and has open, untidy, cream or yellow tufts on longer column arms.
Photographer/s: 1, 3 Ken Harris ©; 2 Cathy Powers ©

Plant Communities

  • 30 Swamp Gum Swampy Riparian Woodland (EVC 83)
  • 08 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest – Dandenongs (EVC 29)
  • 11 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 18)
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