Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra benthamiana (Orchidaceae)
Blotched Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
Herbarium regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South East
IBRA regions
Glenelg Plain (NCP02)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [Glenelg River NP]
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   (Probable Decline)   [localised, Fairview & Big Heath CP]
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)   [weeds, loss of habitat]
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Near Threatened   [reasonably widespread]
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Near Threatened   [Cox's Scrub, Deep Ck, Spring Mt; more obvious after fires, seen in fire breaks]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [Mt Bold; highly localised; more obvious after fires, seen in fire breaks]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   (Definite Decline)   [Tothill Ranges R Bates 1 plant. No records]
Southern Yorke (EYB01)Eyre Yorke Block
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   (Definite Decline)   [1 population from Minlaton. No records]
Eyre Hills (EYB03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Talia (EYB04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Murray Lakes and Coorong (MDD03)Murray Darling Depression
 Regionally Extinct   [possibly extinct]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR C2a(i))   (Probable Decline)   [only in one known patch]
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Thelymitra]
Name derivation:
Thelymitra from the Greek 'thelys' meaning a bishop and 'mitra' meaning headwear, hat, hence a bishopds mitre, referring to the sometimes plumed or decorated wings of the column, which is usually produced behind and over the anther in a hood like projection. Benthamiana named after the botanist and author George Bentham (1800-1884), an English botanist described as "the premier systematic botanist of the nineteenth century".
Found on the Eyre and York Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, southern Mount Lofty and the South-east in South Australia, grows in open forest, heathy forest and heathland in well drained sandy soil and clay loam. Also found in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Very rare in Tasmania. Rare in Victoria. Common in Western Australia.
Plant description:
Terrestrial orchid growing to 50 cm tall with a single basal leaf, ovate, leathery and bright green, to 25 cm long and 55 mm wide. Inflorescence a long stalk with 1-15 yellow or yellow-green with dark brown or red-brown spots or blotches flowers up to 40 mm in diameter. Column is yellow and has deeply toothed wings. Flowering between October and December.  
Fruit type:
Brown papery ellipsoid capsule.
Seed type:
Very small dark brown ellipsoid seed with an ovoid translucent brown mesh-like covering
Seed collecting:
Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen.
Seed viability:
For the NVC South East Orchid Project one population consisting of more than 4 individuals was recorded from Big Heath Conservation Park. Approximately 270,000 seeds (0.12 g) were banked from this population. Seed viability was 92%.
Seed germination:
Seed germination in Thelymitra species is difficult in the absence of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi.