Thelymitra aristata Lindl.

Great Sun-orchid

Gen. Sp. Orch. Pl. 521 (1840) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering stem erect, stout, straight, 20–100 cm tall, 2–9 mm diam., green or purplish. Leaf linear to linear-lanceolate, 10–40 cm long, 5–40 mm wide, flattish, fleshy, canaliculate, ribbed abaxially, sheathing at base, light or dark green with a purplish base, sometimes with dark spots or blotches. Inflorescence 5–40-flowered. Sterile bracts 1–4, large, lower ones leaf-like. Perianth segments lanceolate to oblanceolate, 10–25 mm long, blue to violet, rarely greenish-blue, pinkish or white, sometimes with darker longitudinal veins; sepals generally firmer than petals. Column ovoid, 6–8 mm long, white, pale blue or greenish; mid-lobe expanded into a flap-like cover, 2–3 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, purplish-brown, attenuated, rising over the anther and higher than the lateral lobes, the yellow tip finely toothed or incised, sometimes deeply notched; lateral lobes converging, filiform, usually suberect and straight, sometimes geniculate, hair-tufts mop-like, bushy, usually white, obscuring the orifice below mid-lobe crest. Anther inserted towards base of column, apex ending in a short beak. Flowers Sep.–Nov.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HSF, NIS, OtP, OtR, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Also SA, NSW, Tas. Grows in open forest, woodland, heathy woodland and heathland on soils ranging from well-drained sand to peaty soils around swamp margins.

Flowers open moderately freely on warm days and are insect-pollinated.

Rare hybrids between Thelymitra aristata and T. ixioides have been observed in East Gippsland.

Source: Weber, J.Z.; Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Thelymitra. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-02-15
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Thelymitra
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Thelymitra aristata in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Thelymitra aristata in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales