Seeds of South Australia
Thelymitra peniculata (Orchidaceae)
Peniculate Sun-orchid
List of species for Thelymitra
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Seed collecting:
November to December
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South East
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [not well-protected within reserves; planted on by forestry]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [not well-protected within reserves; planted on by forestry]
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. Peniculata from the Latin 'peniculus' meaning brush or tuft like the tail of a horse, referring to the trichomes that are more or less confined to the upper half of the lateral lobes in a loose, semi-erect tuft resembling a horse's tail.
Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in a wide range of habitats including grassy woodland, open forest and heathland. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Native. rare in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Terrestrial orchid with long, narrow linear leaves to 44 cm long and 20 mm wide, erect, fleshy, dark green with a purplish base. Flowering spike, slender to stout, traight, purplish, to 66 cm high with 1-18 rich purple flowers, opening tardily on warm to hot days. Flowering between late September to late October.
Fruit type:
Brown papery obovoid capsule 20 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.