Plant of the month 09/2022: Thelymitra queenslandica

An abundance of botanical delights on our September to Mt Zero made it hard to choose a single species for P o M! The editor’s dilemma was resolved, thanks to Ishara nominating the beautiful ground orchid, Thelymitra queenslandica.

Photo: Ishara Udawela

The northern sun orchid, Thelymitra queenslandica, Orchidaceae, is endemic to Queensland, with a limited distribution from the Paluma area to about Mount Finnigan (south of Cooktown).

Photo: Malcolm Tattersall

Thelymitra queenslandica produces a slender upright stem with 4 to 15 flowers that open sequentially on sunny days, closing overnight and re-opening with the return of the sun.

Thelymitra queenslandica occurs at higher elevation (approx. 800 to 1300 m) on rocky slopes, typically in open forests. Within those areas it sometimes grows along road embankments, conveniently visible like the beautiful specimen we saw.

Photo: Malcolm Tattersall