Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered as Thelymitra jonesii
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011af) [Conservation Advice].
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan] as Thelymitra jonesii.
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (21/07/2003) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2003c) [Legislative Instrument] as Thelymitra jonesii.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (84)(02/02/2011) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011l) [Legislative Instrument] as Thelymitra jonesii.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014bq) [State Action Plan].
TAS:Listing statement: Sky-blue sun orchid Thelymitra jonesii (Threatened Species Unit (TSU), 2002) [State Species Management Plan].
TAS:Flowering Times of Tasmanian Orchids: A Practical Guide for Field Botanists (Wapstra, M., N. Roberts, H. Wapstra & A. Wapstra, 2008) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list) as Thelymitra jonesii
Scientific name Thelymitra jonesii [76352]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Jeanes
Infraspecies author  
Reference Muelleria 15: 81, figs 1, 5, 8 (2001).
Other names Thelymitra azurea sensu D.L.Jones et al., non R.S.Rogers [76353]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific Name: Thelymitra jonesii

Common Name: Sky-blue Sun-orchid

Thelymitra jonesii is referred to as Thelymitra azurea sensu D.L.Jones et al., non R.S.Rogers (Jones et al. 1999). Thelymitra azurea has been recorded in Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria. The Tasmanian occurrence was formally described as a separate species, Thelymitra jonesii, by Jeanes (2001b).

Thelymitra jonesii is most closely related to Thelymitra azurea and Thelymitra occidentalis but has generally paler blue flowers and the column has shorter lateral lobes. Also, the auxiliary lobes in Thelymitra jonesii are less differentiated from the post-anther lobe, only being separated from it by two inward folds or two shallow incisions of the distal margin (Jeanes 2001b).

The Sky-blue Sun-orchid is a terrestrial herb growing to 40 cm high and dying back to subterranean tubers after flowering. One to six flowers appear from October to early December. The flowers are 13 to 21 mm across, and are light blue to azure blue with darker veins (Jeanes 2001b; TSSC 2003k; TSU 2002). It has a single leaf, 6–21 cm long and 3–6 mm wide, which is fleshy and dark green with a reddish base (TSU 2002).

Sun orchids open only in warm weather, particularly on bright, sunny days (TSU 2002).

The Sky-blue Sun-orchid is endemic to Tasmania (Iliopoulos 2002a). The species is currently known to persist as two small populations on the Tasman Peninsula (TSSC 2003k). The Sky-blue Sun-orchid has historically been known from seven sites at four widely distributed localities (Rocky Cape, Cape Barren Island, Southport Bluff and the Tasman Peninsula). However, five of these populations have not been found in recent years and may be extinct (TSU 2002). A specimen was recorded from Southport Bluff in 1976 but no fresh specimens have been recorded since. Records from Cape Barren Island date back to 1973 and it is not known if the colony still exists. A site recorded in the 1990s at Sisters Beach now has a house on it (H. Wapstra in Iliopoulos 2002a). Sun-orchids are typically very restricted in distribution, usually restricted to a loose colony on a small site, and usually with half a dozen plants or fewer (H. Wapstra in Iliopoulos 2002a).

The area of occupancy for the Sky-blue Sun-orchid is estimated to be less than 0.01 km² in total (TSSC 2003k).

The species occurs in two separate locations, Mason Point and Pirates Road, on the Tasman Peninsula (TSU 2002).

This species' distribution can be considered severely fragmented as it is currently known only from two small and isolated subpopulations.

Surveys conducted in 2001 in suitable habitat did not locate any additional populations of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid (TSSC 2003k). Suitable habitat has been extensively surveyed, and the species has a high profile amongst orchid enthusiasts in Tasmania, therefore the known population is likely to accurately reflect the true population size and distribution (TSU 2002).

In 2003, the total population size for the species was estimated to be less than 60 individuals (TSSC 2003k).

Both surviving subpopulations of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid are limited in numbers. In 2001, the Pirates Road population had 32 individuals and the Mason Point population had 5–20 individuals (TSU 2002).

The species has a characteristically small population size (TSU 2002). One previously known population at Rocky Cape, now extinct, consisted of only three or four individuals (TSU 2002).

There is no quantitative data on population trends, but the presumed loss of five of the seven known populations implies a significant decline in population size.

The Pirates Road population occurs in a Flora Special Management Zone (an area managed for protection of a species, while allowing some timber harvesting) within Taranna State Forest. This zone is managed for the conservation of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid and the orchid species Prasophyllum apoxychilum (Iliopoulos 2002a).

The Sky-blue Sun-orchid grows in moist coastal heath on sandy to peaty soil (Jones et al. 1999), at altitudes of 10–250 m above sea level (Jeanes 2001b). The Pirates Road site in the Taranna State Forest has steep slopes and changing soils in short distances with deep dolerite loams and is rocky with dolerite outcrops. Associated understorey species include Lomatia tinctoria, Diplarrena moraea, Helichrysum scorpioides, Stackhousia monogyna and Pimelea humilis. Other orchids that are present include Prasophyllum elatum, P. concinnum, Microtis unifolia and Caladenia echidnachila (Iliopoulos 2002a).

The main threat to the Sky-blue Sun-orchid in the past has been development in its habitat. The site of one population (at Sisters Beach) has now been built over (H. Wapstra in Iliopoulos 2002a).

The Pirates Road population of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid is currently threatened by habitat damage within the Flora Special Management Zone. This damage is caused by impacts from vehicles, camping activities, and unauthorised cutting of trees in Taranna State Forest (TPWS 2006). Both populations of the orchid are threatened by trampling, and by fertiliser and herbicide use near the populations (TSSC 2003k).

The Sky-blue Sun-orchid could potentially be threated by unsuitable fire management, further road construction, or the conversion of the State Forest to plantation (Iliopoulos 2002a). However, conversion to plantation is considered unlikely given the unsuitable topography of the area and the declaration of the Flora Special Management Zone (TSSC 2003k). A standard fire management plan is considered suitable for maintaining and benefiting the Sky-blue Sun-orchid, with high fire frequencies probably ideal (Iliopoulos 2002a). Potential threats to the Mason's Point population include inappropriate recreational and roadside management activities (TSSC 2003k).

Recovery measures

The recovery plan for threatened Tasmanian orchids (including the Sky-blue Sun-orchid) contains several recovery actions that will benefit this species. These actions include the establishment of a seed bank, research on the life history and ecological requirements of the orchid, management and protection of priority populations, and the identification of critical and potential habitat (TSS 2006a). Other recovery actions from management documentation that would benefit this species include the minimisation of vehicle impacts on the species' habitat in the State Forest, and development of a fire plan for the State Forest that accommodates the needs of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid (TPWS 2006).

A Flora Special Management Zone has been established in Taranna State Forest to protect a population of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid and another threatened orchid species, Prasophyllum apoxychilum (Iliopoulos 2002a).

Strategies relevant to the conservation of the Sky-blue Sun-orchid can be found in:

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Illegal collection Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat disturbance due to foresty activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008yj) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Soil disturbance and/or trampling due to bushwalking Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Agricultural Effluents:Environmental impacts due to application of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Agricultural Effluents:Herbicide application Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low genetic diversity and genetic inbreeding Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008yj) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011ae) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Transportation and Service Corridors:Road and rail maintenance works Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2003k) [Listing Advice].

Iliopoulos, A. (2002a). Flora: Special Management Zone (Orchid). Forest Practices News. 4(3):3-4. [Online]. Hobart: Forest Practices Board. Available from: http://www.fpb.tas.gov.au/pdf_files/FPN/fpn_issue_15.pdf.

Jeanes, J.A. (2001b). Resolution of the Thelymitra canaliculata R.Br. (Orchidaceae) complex in southern Australia. Muelleria. 15:75-89. [Online]. Melbourne: National Herbarium of Victoria. Available from: http://www.rbgmelb.org.au/muell.

Jones, D.L., H. Wapstra, P. Tonelli & S. Harris (1999). The Orchids of Tasmania. Carlton South, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (TPWS) (2006). Southport Lagoon Conservation Area, George III Monument Historic Site and Ida Bay State Reserve Management Plan 2006. [Online]. Department of Tourism, Arts and the Environment. Available from: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/publications/tech/southport_lagoon/SouthportLagoonCA.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2003k). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Thelymitra jonesii (Sky-blue Sun-orchid). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/t-jonesii.html.

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2006a). Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010. [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIWE. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tasmanian-orchid.html.

Threatened Species Unit (TSU) (2002). Listing statement: Sky-blue sun orchid Thelymitra jonesii . [Online]. Department of Primary Industry, Water and Environment, Tasmania. Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/SJON-5RM3SY/$FILE/Thelymitra%20jonesii%20listing%20statement.pdf.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Thelymitra jonesii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:03:07 +1000.