Thelymitra matthewsii Cheeseman

Spiral-leaved Sun-orchid

Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 43: 177 (1910) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:EPBC: vulnerable (VU); Victoria: vulnerable (v); listed in Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

Flowering stem erect, wiry, usually straight, sometimes flexuose, 10–22 cm tall, c. 1 mm diam., green to purplish. Leaf spirally twisted or strongly flexuose, basal sheath 1–2 cm long, villous, lamina attenuate to filiform, often encircling the flowering stem, 5–9 cm long, distally 1–2 mm wide, basally auriculate with lobe 3–9 mm wide, often undulate, sometimes minutely pubescent along margins. Inflorescence 1(–2)-flowered. Sterile bract 1. Perianth segments ovate to lanceolate, 8–10 mm long, purplish, violet or purple-mauve, with darker longitudinal veins, petals and sepals often of contrasting colours. Column ovoid, 5–6 mm long, purple; mid-lobe a low crest, less than 1 mm high, covered with small grape-like glands; lateral lobes arising from behind the anther, porrect, shortly stalked, asymmetrically ovoid to broadly elliptic, 1.5–2 mm long, c. 1 mm wide, minutely warty, yellow. Anther with oblong-ovoid to oblong-cuneate apex extending beyond lateral lobes, upper side covered with short, velvety hairs. Flowers Aug.–Sep.(–Oct.).

EGL, GipP, GGr, OtP, VVP, Wim. Also SA. New Zealand. Widely distributed but rare, in coastal sandy flats or slightly elevated sites (to 400 m) in well-drained soils (sandy loams to gravelly limestone soils) in open forest. Plants colonise disturbed sites and slowly disappear as these sites stabilise.

Flowers open widely on warm days, but are self-pollinating and short–lived.

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: Jeff Jeanes, 2014-09-17
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 matthewsii in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Thelymitra matthewsii in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Wimmera present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Greater Grampians present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia