Thelymitra's are a terrestrial orchid genus found in Australia,
(50 odd species) New Zealand, (about a dozen species) New Caledonia, (2)
and the odd one in Timor, Java, and The Philippines.
The Thelymitra's on the following pages, all come from the south west
of Western Australia, specifically, the area around Albany, which is known
for it's unusual flora. Thelymitra's are known as 'Sun Orchids' because
of their tendency to only open on sunny days, closing at night and during
cold and cloudy weather.
Unlike most orchids, the lip, or what passes for a lip, is usually the
same shape as the petals. There are, however, a few species in which the
lip tends to be modified slightly, and appears to be shaped like a 'normal'
One of the most outstanding features of Thelymitra's, is the huge colour
range, which can include white, yellow, pink, red, orange, blue, purple
and all sorts of combinations of the above, which can produce orchids
that are quite stunning, as Ron Heberle's photographs will show. The blue
Thelymitra's can be quite unbelievable when one comes across them in the
bush, as true blue orchids are so rare in nature. The number of flowers
carried on Thelymitra's, varies between one and 20 to 25, sometimes more.
Flower size is between 1 - 6cm.