Thelymitra pauciflora

I had always wanted to find one of the mauve Thelymitras, and in November 2002, I finally found one when I least expected to.

It was alongside a fairly open track, growing in full sunlight. This plant was about 60 cm tall and had several flower spikes.

The meaning of its name: Thelymitra comes from a Greek word meaning "females headress". You may be familiar with the word "mitre" to describe the peaked hats that some clergy wear when dressed up in ceremonial clothes. Same shape that gives "Mitre Peak" its name.
Pauciflora means "few flowers". However, the plant I found seemed to have quite a few flowers on it.


A closer view of one of these fantastic purple Thelymitra pauciflora flowers.
Thelymitra longifolia

It took me a long time to find one of these open. I have visited some frequently over the summer to catch them flowering and then found that they are forming fruit under what had been the flower bud - obviously self-pollinating without the flower opening properly.

The Thelymitras are known as "sun orchids" because they stay closed unless it is dry and sunny. T. longifolia is common on clay banks and the sides of sunny tracks.

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Orchids