Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra bracteata (Orchidaceae)
Leafy Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
December to February
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [in Cox's Scrub ]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Least Concern
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   (Definite Decline)
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   (Definite Decline)
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 Greek 'thelys' meaning a bishop and 'mitra' meaning a headwear, hat, hence a bishop’s 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. Bracteata from the Latin 'bracteatus' meaning with bracts, referring to the species very prominent sterile and fertile bracts.
Found in southern Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the South-east in South Australia, growing grassland, woodland and open forest in open aspect. Also founding in Victoria and Tasmania.
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria and Tasmania.
Plant description:
Terrestial orchid with linear-lanceolate leaves to 45 cm long and 15 mm wide, erect, leathery, dark green with a purplish base. Flowering spike rather stout, straight, straw-coloured to purplish, to 100 cm high with 5-30 pale blue inside and greenish outside flowers, opening tardily on warm to hot days. Flowering between late September and early December.
Fruit type:
Brown papery obovoid capsule to 25 mm long and 8 mm wide, ribbed.
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 or in liquid nitrogen.