Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelymitra angustifolia

Long-leaved Sun Orchid

Thelymitra angustifolia R.Br., Prod. 314 (1810). Type: (J.) v.v. Tropical Australia; Port II (Port Clinton, Queensland), 22 Sep.1802, R. Brown s.n. (lectotype specimen (a) BM; isolectotype BM), fide Clements (1989).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on the Atherton Tableland and along the coast from Mossman in Queensland to Mittagong in New South Wales.

Altitude: 0-800 m.


Terrestrial herb. Plants single with slender grass-like habit. Tubers 2, obovoid, fleshy. Leaf solitary, erect, basal, sessile; lamina narrowly lanceolate, 15-50 cm x 0.5-1 cm, thin-textured, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 200-600 mm x 1.5-3 mm wide, with sterile bracts, usually 3. Flowers 2-10, resupinate, porrect, 18-27 mm wide, purplish blue. Sepals and petals free, similar in shape and size, incurved or spreading widely, 8-15 mm x 3-6 mm. Labellum unlobed, petalloid. Column 4.5-6 mm x 2.2-3.2 mm, pale blue or pinkish; post-anther lobe tubular, 3-4 mm x 1.5-2.2 mm, brownish with yellow apex, gently curved, hooded, deeply emarginate; column arms converging, 1-1.5 mm long, curved upwards; hair-tufts mop-like, white, with hairs 0.9-1.2 mm long, embracing front of post-anther lobe. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforest margins and wet sclerophyll forests, and into open forests and woodlands, growing in moist to wet grassy sites. The self-pollinating flowers open only on hot days.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: June-November.

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