Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra epipactoides (Orchidaceae)
Metallic Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
October to December
Herbarium regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Murray, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [numbers have declined in all reserves over last 10yrs]
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [more suitable habitat]
Eyre Hills (EYB03)Eyre Yorke Block
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR C2a(i))   (Definite Decline)
Talia (EYB04) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR C2a(i))   (Definite Decline)
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR C2a(i))   (Definite Decline)
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling Depression
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR C2a(i))   (Definite Decline)
Murray Lakes and Coorong (MDD03) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [out-crossing spp. only found in a few places]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04) 
 Regionally Extinct   [presumed extinct]
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. Epipactoides from the Greek 'epipaktis' after the genus of terrestrial orchids Epipactis, alluding to the supposed similarity of the plants to some European Epipactis orchids.
Found on the bottom of Eyre Peninsula, southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing on fertile loams in open woodland, heath or grassland. Also found in Victoria.
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria. Endangered in Australia under the EPBC Act.
Plant description:
Terrestrial orchid growing to 50 cm tall with a single basal leaf, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, tubular at base, to 40 cm long. Inflorescence a tall erect stem with 5-25 pink, bronze, green, blue or reddish, often with a coppery sheen or metallic lustre flowers to 25 mm in diameter. Column has incurved lobes with dense tufts of shaggy hair. Flowering between September and November.
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 seven populations consisting of more than 100 individuals in total were recorded from Derwents Waterhole, Reedy Well, Meningie Gun Club, Tilley Swamp Conservation Park, Desert Camp Conservation Park, Messent Conservation Park and Padthaway Conservation Park. Approximately 2,800,000 seeds (2.27 g) were banked for these seven observed populations. The seed viability was low for the collection from Messent CP at 18%, all others ranged between 57% and 100%.
Seed germination:
 Seed germination in Thelymitra species is difficult in the absence of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi.