Granite Sun Orchid
The Granite Sun Orchid is one of the most widespread orchids of south-western Australia. It can be found across the extensive Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions of WA and has been recorded as far east as the Great Victoria Desert and the Nullarbor Plain, although the exact distribution east of Kalgoorlie and Israelite Bay is not well known.
The Granite Sun Orchid grows in a variety of different habitats, but is most commonly found in soil pockets on and around granite outcrops where there is extra moisture from rainwater runoff. The peak flowering period is mid spring, and the orchids are often found in the company of other common granite rock dwellers, such as the Desert Mignonette Orchid (Microtis media subsp. eremicola) and the Elbow Orchid (Spiculaea ciliata).
While the colour of the flowers is generally variable and can range from almost white to different shades of purple and blue, the Granite Sun Orchid looks very similar to other blue-flowered species of Sun Orchid found across south-western WA, including the Scented Sun Orchid (Thelymitra macrophylla) and the Shy Sun Orchid (Thelymitra graminea). The Granite Sun Orchid is most easily identified through its inland granite habitat and details in the appearance of the column which has a rather fleshy, bright orange tip and fairly large, white tufts. Nevertheless, identification of individual specimens can be difficult due to the general variability of all of these species as well as partial overlap in range and habitat.