There were quite a few of these growing near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains National Park (October 2009).
Originally unidentified but found easily on a search through native australian flower websites.
Distribution: Widespread in all Australian states except the Northern Territory. Also occurs in New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Common Name: Spotted sun orchid.
Derivation of Name: Thelymitra…From Greek thelys, female and mitra, a headdress, referring to the appearance of the plumed column (the fused stamens, styles and stigma).
ixioides…similar to the genus Ixia.
Thelymitra is a genus of about 80 species of terrestrial orchids distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand and islands to the north of Australia. They are known as “sun orchids” because the flowers of most species only open fully on warm, sunny days.
Within Australia, they are mostly seen on the southern eastern & western areas not far from the coast.
The plant has deeply channelled leaves which are long and lance-shaped. Between 2 and 8 flowers about 2.5 cm in diameter occur on a slender stem up to 60 cm high. The flowers are bright blue or mauve (rarely pink or white) covered with dark spots. Flowering occurs in spring and the plants become dormant in summer when they die back to an underground tuber.
This is the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.
Photographed with a Canon 400D.
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