(pronounced: thee-lee-MYE-trah)


Diurideae subtribe Thelymitrinae

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Terrestrials arising from ellipsoid tubers. Stems short, enclosed by tubular leaf sheath. Leaves solitary, grass-like. Inflorescences erect pedunculate racemes, the floral bracts inconspicuous. Flowers showy, only opening completely in full sunlight or very warm temperatures. Sepals and petals free, spreading, subsimilar, subequal. Lip unlobed, subsimilar to the sepals and petals, without callus. Column stout, without a foot, with variously ornamented wings (column arms); pollinia 4, sessile on a minute viscidium.


From the Greek thelys, meaning female, and mitra, meaning a hat or headband, referring to the plumed or otherwise decorated column wings which form a hood-like appendage.


A genus of about 65 species in Australasia and the Philippines with a concentration of species diversity in Australia.

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Bates, R. J. 1999. Self pollinated Sun Orchids of the Thelymitra pauciflora -- T. longifolia Alliance in Australia. Orchadian 13(2):65-72.

Bernhardt, P. and P. Burns-Balogh 1986. Floral mimesis in Thelymitra nuda. Plant Syst. Evolut. 151:187-202.

Clements, M. A., D. L. Jones and B. P. J. Molloy 1991. Recently named Australian orchid taxa, 2. Thelymitra. Lindleyana 6(1):59-60.

Cropper, S. C. and D. M. Calder 1990. The floral biology of Thelymitra epipactoides (Orchidaceae), and the implications of pollination by deceit on the survival of this rare orchid. Pl. Syst. Evol. 170(1-2):11-27.

Dafni, A. and D. M. Calder 1987. Pollination by deceit and floral mimesis in Thelymitra antennifera (Orchidaceae). Plant Syst. Evolut. 158:11-22.

Heberle, R. L. 1999. Thelymitra variegata (Lindl.) F. Muell., “The Queen of Sheba”. Orchadian 13(2):73-77.

Jones, D. L. 1999. Notes on Tasmanian Orchidaceae including the description of two new species of Thelymitra. Orchadian 12(11):517-521.

Jones, D. L. and M. A. Clements 1998. Two new species, characterization of two poorly known species and a new name in Thelymitra (Orchidaceae) from Australia. Orchadian 12(7):326-333.

Molloy, B. P. J. and E. D. Hatch 1990. Thelymitra tholiformis (Orchidaceae), a new species endemic to New Zealand, with notes on associated taxa. New Zealand J. Bot. 28:105-114.

Sydes, M. A. and D. M. Calder 1993. Comparative reproductive biology of two sun orchids: the vulnerable T. circumsepta and the widespread T. ixioides (Orchidaceae). Austral. J. Bot. 41:577-589.