Scented Sun Orchid
The Scented Sun Orchid is one of the most common species of Sun Orchid and endemic to south-western Australia, where it can be found in forests and woodlands. It is most abundant in near-coastal areas that receive plenty of rainfall during the winter and generally less common in the drier Wheatbelt region of WA. The Scented Sun Orchid flowers in mid spring and often grows together with the Shy Sun Orchid (Thelymitra graminea) and the Queen Orchid (Thelymitra crinita). All three species are very common along the Darling Scarp east of Perth.
While looking very similar to the Shy Sun Orchid (Thelymitra graminea), the Scented Sun Orchid is easily distinguished by its long, broad leaf, which is significantly broader than the narrow leaf of the Shy Sun Orchid. In addition, large specimens of the Scented Sun Orchid can stand up to a metre tall and carry several dozen flowers along their stem. The flowers are variable in colour, ranging from blue to purple, and are typically much larger than those of the Shy Sun Orchid. There are minor differences in the shape and colour of the column between the two species as well.
Other similar-looking species include the Plain Sun Orchid (Thelymitra paludosa), which occurs in the higher-rainfall areas of south-western WA and flowers slightly later in early summer, and the Granite Sun Orchid (Thelymitra petrophila), which is the most common blue-flowered Sun Orchid across WA’s Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions and is usually found in shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops.