Thelymitra cyanea (Lindl.) Benth.

Fl. Austral. 6: 323 (1873) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native



Flowering stem erect, straight, 15–55 cm tall, 1–2.5 mm diam., pale green to purplish. Leaf linear, attenuate, 10–25(–37) cm long, 3–8 mm wide, fleshy, canaliculate, ribbed abaxially, sheathing at base, pale to dark green. Inflorescence 1–4-flowered, open. Sterile bracts usually 2, rarely 1 or 3. Perianth segments lanceolate to ovate (labellum broadly obovate), 8–16 mm long, bright blue with darker blue longitudinal veins, particularly on dorsal sepal and petals, rarely white with blue veins or pink with brown veins, opening freely on warm days. Column slender, 4–5.5 mm long, white to pale blue; mid-lobe not hooding the anther, very short, covered with beady glands, cream; lateral lobes parallel, 1.5–2.5 mm long, fleshy, obliquely erect, usually spirally twisted, yellow, base of inner margins with beady glands, apex often variously lobed. Anther inserted towards apex of column, with a prominent bifid beak. Flowers Nov.–Mar.

CVU, EGL, GGr, HNF, HSF, MonT, OtP, OtR, SnM, VAlp. Grows in moist sub-alpine herbfield, sphagnum bogs and heathland along streams and in soaks, in perennially moist substrates such as sphagnum moss, peaty soils and sandy loams. Also found in moist heathland at lower altitudes in the Grampians and Otway Ranges.

Thelymitra cyanea can be distinguished from T. alpicola and T. incurva by its broad obovate labellum and spirally twisted non-erose lateral lobes on the column.

Thelymitra cyanea has been confused with Thelymitra venosa from the New South Wales Central Coast and Central Tablelands regions, but the latter is a more robust species with a larger number of slightly larger flowers which have longer more obviously twisted lateral lobes on the column.

Created by: Jeff Jeanes, 2014-10-17
Updated by: Jeff Jeanes, 2014-10-17
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 cyanea in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Thelymitra cyanea in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Otway Plain present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory