spotted sun orchid, sun orchid
Thelymitra decora Cheeseman
Vascular – Native
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 54
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
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
November - April
Very easily grown in a sunny, well drained site. Although easily cultivated, like all orchids it should not be removed from the wild.
thelymitra: Woman’s hat
nervosa: With conspicuous veins
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970).
References and further reading
Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.