Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra cyanapicata (Orchidaceae)
Blue-top Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
November to January
Herbarium region:
Southern Lofty
NRM region:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
IBRA region
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v))   (Definite Decline)   [recently listed; only known from Knott Hill; habitat has been destroyed]
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. Cyanapicata from the Latin 'cyan' meaning blue and 'apica' meaning apex, referring to the dark purplish blue apex column (post anther lobe) of the flower.
Endemic to South Australia and is only known from a few localities in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing in Eucalyptus viminalis open swampy woodland with a dense understorey of sedges and ferns, in wet sandy soils.
Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Plant description:
Erect terrestrial orchid with linear leaf to 22 cm long and 6 mm wide, erect, fleshy, green with a purplish base. Flowering stem wiry, purplish to 20 cm tall with 1-3 small, blue tardily opening flowers. Lateral lobes short, bend upward sharply at about the middle, each with a dense subglobose cluster of short white hairs. Flowering between October and November. This species is distinguishable by its dark purplish blue post-anther lobe.
Fruit type:
Brown papery ellipsoid capsule, ribbed.
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 or in liquid nitrogen.
Seed germination:
Symbiotic in-vitro propagation for this species is being undertaken by Dr Noushka Reiter at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and the SA Seed Conservation Centre at Adelaide Botanic Gardens with the help of Kildare College science teacher Paul Beltrame and a small group of dedicated students. The dedicated propagation work being undertaken for this species is sponsored by ForestrySA.