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Sun orchids

Sun orchids are named as they open on sunny days (in combination with warmth and humidity) and close at night.

Sun orchids

Article by Wendy Cliff, senior community conservation officer and image by Michael Mills, community conservation officer, Sunshine Coast Council

As we enter spring there are many wildflowers you can discover whether you explore the Glasshouse Mountains or Wallum coastal heath.

One that you may see blooming is the Wallum sun orchid (Thelymitra purpurata).

With its vibrant deep blue flowers, with up to 10 flowers per plant, it is a beautiful orchid. The deep blue colour of this orchid is only found in 5 other orchid genera.

Sun orchids are named as they open on sunny days (in combination with warmth and humidity) and close at night.

The shape and colour of the sun orchids mimics flowers of the Liliacea and Goodeniacae families to deceive their insect pollinators.

The orchid pictured was spotted in the Glasshouse Mountains national park (scientific area 1). On the next sunny day why don’t you take your friends or family for a walk in one of our beautiful reserves on the Sunshine Coast:

Identify other wildflowers using this guide or visit the Adventure Sunshine Coast website to find a great walk adventure near you.