Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra flexuosa (Orchidaceae)
Zig-zag Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
November to December
Herbarium regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South East
IBRA regions
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii); D)   (Probable Decline)
Glenelg Plain (NCP02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   (Probable Decline)   [habitat loss]
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   (Probable Decline)   [localised, drying a threat]
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Near Threatened
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Near Threatened   (Probable Decline)
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Near Threatened   (Probable Decline)   [urbanisation]
Eyre Hills (EYB03)Eyre Yorke Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Definite Decline)
Talia (EYB04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
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. Flexuosa from Latin meaning full of bends, crooked or winding, referring to its twisted or zig-zagged flowering stem.
Distribution:
Found on the lower Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing on soil which is very wet in winter, in heathland, woodland and mallee scrub in higher rainfall districts. Also found in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Status:
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual terrestrial orchid with very slender species stem to 20 cm high and a terete leaf above its opening, to 8 cm long. Inflorescence a very wiry, flexuose stem with 1-2 small, cream to canary-yellow flowers opening on hot days. Sepals firmer than petals, brownish on outer surface. Column ovoid, to 5 cm long, whitish-cream to light yellow. 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 one population consisting of more than 50 individuals was recorded from Topperwein Native Forest Reserve. Approximately 2000,000 seeds (0.67 g) were banked from this population. Seed viability for the collection was 86%.
Seed germination:
Seed germination in Thelymitra species is difficult in the absence of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi.