Sun orchids have their name because most of them only open when the sun is shining. Many of them flower in late spring when insects are more active, and their sun trick reduces moisture loss when there are less insects
Sun orchids differ from other orchids in having conventionally shaped petals and sepals but the column that contains the anthers and stigma is highly modified and adorned with wings and glands that probably attract pollinating insects. Thelymitra is derived from Greek words for ‘woman’s hood’. For more information see this blog.
The scented sun orchid and leopard orchid (in good seasons) flower in Foxes lair in October.
Check out the fabulous SUN ORCHID display (scented and shy sun orchids) next to Foxes Lair. mid-September to early-November depending on the season.
here are some good spots to see other sun orchids in the district
Leopard orchid Thelymitra benthamiana. Try Foxes Lair. For those prepared to drive on gravel tracks Borgey Block.
Custard orchid Thelymitra villosa. Yornaning dam reserve.
Wandoo sun orchid. Thelymitra latiloba. Dryandra woodland
Lemon scented sun orchid Thelymitra antennifera. Yilliminning Rock
Random fact: the word orchid is derived from Greek orchis, as orchids have twin root tubers that resemble a pair of testicles. (Yes, orchids are for men too!)
The tubers enable orchids to survive from year to year, so they do not have to flower every year.
Orchids depend on mycorrhizal fungi to supply them with extra minerals and moisture, and will not survive if replanted.