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Thelymitra alpina Jeanes
Family Orchidaceae
Thelymitra alpina Jeanes APNI*

Description: Glabrous terrestrial herb.

Leaf linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, 10–32 cm long, 5–15 mm wide, erect, canaliculate, fleshy, dark green with a purplish base, ribbed abaxially, sheathing at base, apex acute.

Scape 15–45(–80) cm tall, 1.5–4.5 mm diam., slender to stout, straight, green to purplish. Sterile bracts usually 2, sometimes 3, linear to linear-lanceolate, 2–7(–12) cm long, 4–10 mm wide, closely sheathing, green to purplish, acute to acuminate. Fertile bracts ovate-acuminate to obovate-acuminate, 5−20(−30) mm long, 3–7 mm wide, sheathing the pedicels, green to purplish. Pedicels 1–12(−25) mm long, slender. Ovary cylindric to narrow-obovoid, 5–14 mm long, 1–3.5 mm wide. Flowers 2–10(–20), (20–)25–40 mm across, usually blue to purplish, occasionally lilac, pink or white. Perianth segments (9–)15−20(−25) mm long, 3–11 mm wide, concave, somewhat stalked to spathulate, apex acute to obtuse, often shortly apiculate; dorsal sepal ovate; lateral sepals lanceolate to ovate, slightly asymmetric; petals ovate; labellum elliptic to oblanceolate, usually narrower than other segments. Column erect from the end of ovary, 5.5–7 mm long, 3–4 mm wide, pale blue to pinkish; post-anther lobe hooding the anther, 3.5–5 mm long, 2−3 mm wide, tubular, very inflated, often somewhat compressed dorsally, gently curved through c. 90°, pale to dark brown, apex yellow, bilobed, lobes irregular, to c. 1.5 mm long, distal margin irregularly toothed, usually also with two prominent forward-pointing horn-like teeth, orifice small; auxiliary lobes often present as 2 tiny incurved spurs on the lower apical margin of the post-anther lobe; lateral lobes converging, 1–2 mm long, digitiform, porrect at base, curved upwards, each with a toothbrush-like arrangement of white or pinkish hairs along the upper ½ to ¾ of their length, the individual hairs 0.8–1.2 mm long. Anther inserted about mid-way along column, ovoid, 2.5–3.5 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, connective produced into a beak 0.4–1 mm long; pollinarium 2–2.6 mm long; viscidium more or less circular, c. 0.6 mm diam.; pollinia white with coherent pollen. Stigma situated at base of column, ovate-quadrate, 2–3 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, margins irregular.

Capsules obovoid, 10−20 mm long, 4.5–8 mm wide, erect, ribbed.


Flowering: Late October to January, opening freely in warm weather.

Distribution and occurrence: Alpine, sub-alpine and montane areas from 500 to 1600 masl of south-eastern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and eastern Victoria.

Grows in alpine and sub-alpine meadows and woodlands often dominated by Snow Gums, or in open montane forests. Substrates are usually sandy and peaty loams.
NSW subdivisions: ST
Other Australian states: Vic.
AVH map***

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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