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Thelymitra alpicola Jeanes
Family Orchidaceae
Thelymitra alpicola Jeanes APNI*

Synonyms: Thelymitra erosa subsp. alpicola Jeanes APNI*

Description: Glabrous terrestrial herb.

Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, 6–25 cm long, 4–13 mm wide, erect, fleshy to leathery, dark green with a purplish base.

Inflorescense scape 15–50 cm high. Flowers 1–6, 15–34 mm across, deep purplish blue with darker longitudinal striations. Perianth segments 7–16 mm long, 3–8 mm wide. Labellum often slightly broader than petal segments. Column erect from the end of ovary, 4.5–6.5 mm long, broadly winged, purplish. Post-anther lobe slightly hooding the anther, 1–2.5 mm long, reddish brown to almost black, often bilobed, margin irregular, sometimes with a central tooth, somewhat sinuate, dorsal surface rugulose, apex yellow or pinkish. Auxiliary lobes absent; lateral lobes fleshy, pink or brownish with apex cream or yellow. Anther inserted towards apex of column, mostly green. Stigma situated at base of column, concave, margins irregular.

Capsules obovoid, 10–18 mm long, 4–8 mm wide, erect, ribbed.

Flowering: Flowers late October to January.

Distribution and occurrence: New South Wales and Victoria. Widespread and sometimes locally common but overall vulnerable.

Grows in alpine and montane heathlands, in moist areas around the edges of sphagnum bogs, beside streams or in soaks and swamps. A population in the Strzelecki Ranges Victoria is noteworthy for its disjunction and low altitude. Soils are generally dark sandy, clayey or peaty loams. Mainly high altitude of 1000-1700 m.
NSW subdivisions: ST
Other Australian states: Vic.
Threatened species: NSW BCA: Vulnerable
AVH map***

This species is considered data-deficient by Saving our Species (SoS, DPIE) which means a conservation project cannot be developed for it. Visit their website and contact SoS if you have additional information.

Thelymitra alpicola can be distinguished from T. erosa and T. incurva by its deep purplish blue, strongly striated perianth and more or less parallel (sometimes incurved at apices), often narrow, shallowly erose, lateral lobes on the column.

Text by Louisa Murray
Taxon concept: Jeanes, J.A. (2012) Muelleria Vol:30(1)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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