Thelymitra nervosa


Thelymitra nervosa


Thelymitra: woman's hat
nervosa: with conspicuous veins

Common Name(s)

Spotted sun orchid, sun orchid

Current Threat Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Previous Threat Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Thelymitra nervosa Colenso



Flora Category

Vascular - Native


Thelymitra decora Cheeseman


Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.


Lowland to alpine (up to 1400 m a.s.l.). Mostly montane in northern part of range, extending to lowland area in the southern South Island, Stewart and Chatham Islands. In well lighted places within tall forest, scrub, tussock grassland or on more or less bare lava fields (Tongariro National Park).


Terrestrial, tuberous, glabrous, spring to summer-green perennial herb, growing solitary or in colonies of 4-10 plants arising through vegetative extension. Leaf broad, channelled and deeply keeled, (60-)90(-260) x (8-)12(-20) mm. Plant at flowering up to 600 mm tall. Bracts 1-2(-3), foliaceous, closely-sheathing, fleshy, of similar colour to stem and leaf. Inflorescence a (1-)10-flowered raceme. Flowers up to 18 mm diameter, spreading, rarely widely spreading, segments dark to pale blue, mauve, pink or white usually with darker blue spotted petals, sometimes without spots. Sepals and petals alike, ovate-oblong, subacute more or less concave (cupped) resulting in a rounded appearance to the flower. Labellum slightly spathulate. Column erect, 3-6 mm tall, usually pale pink grading to dark purple near post-anther lobe; post-anther lobe extending well above anther-tip, initially dark purple and tuberculate above middle, margin yellow, narrowly hippocratiform, somewhat membranous with a finely denticulate apex, weakly cucullate.; column-arms terete to plano-convex in cross section; cilia copious, somewhat coarse, arising from sides, back and top of arm and mostly standing higher than post-anther lobe. Anther not thickened or incurved.

Similar Taxa

Easily distinguished from other New Zealand Thelymitra by the rounded and cupped flower segments; spotted (not striped) petals; more or less terete (in cross-section) column arms furnished with copious white cilia; horse-shoe shaped, tuberculate and apically yellow post anther lobe.


October - February

Main Flower Colour


Other Flower Colour

Violet / Purple


November - April

Propagation Technique

Very easily grown in a sunny, well drained site. Although easily cultivated, like all orchids it should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 54

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

This page last updated on 17 Dec 2014

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