Tuesday, November 12, 2013

T is for Thelymitra variegata, speciosa, pulcherrima

This orchid, which is endemic to Western Australia, grows amongst low scrub in sandy soils where it flowers from June - September.  It is known as "Queen of Sheba" for obvious reasons and consists of three regional subspecies.  They are distinguished mainly by flower colour and distribution. The northern variety is found north of Perth on the coastal plain.  The eastern variety is found from the Stirling Ranges east to Esperance and the southern variety is found from Bunbury to Albany along the south coast.  There are many variations between the three subspecies:

The Southern Queen of Sheba (Thelymitra variegata):

The Northern species (Thelymitra pulcherrima):

and the Eastern species (Thelymitra speciosa):

and this is a truly beautiful photograph I found which I had to share.  It is quite magnificent and shows all the lovely colours in the one flower.  I am not sure which of the 3 varieties it is, but possibly the Eastern variety:

This shows the characteristic spiral leaf of the plant:

This flower was also featured on one of our $1 stamps:

Just for the sheer fun of it here are more Thelymitra species all of which are found in Western Australia.    There are other species found in other parts of Australia as well.

There are many flowers beginning with the letter 'T' and, as with 'P', I may do some more posts after "Z"


  1. Tremendous and Terrific.
    And, to jump in the alphabet -

  2. They certainly are very brightly coloured and I'm amazed at the spiral leaf, I've never seen a spiral leaf before.

    1. I can remember seeing them in the bush years ago and always admiring their beauty. That leaf is certainly rather different to those we usually see.

  3. Fascinating colour combinations and shapes.

    1. I've always loved the Queen of Sheba. Not seen one for years now but then we've not been out of Perth for about 12 years. They are really gorgeous when you see them firsthand.

  4. That is definitely the right word Yam...Very stunning. xx