Thelymitra antennifera (Rabbit Eared Sun Orchid)

Scientific Name

Thelymitra antennifera (Lindl.) Hook.f.

Common Names

Rabbit Eared Sun Orchid, Rabbit Ears, Rabbit's Ears, Lemon Orchid, Lemon Scented Sun Orchid, Vanilla Orchid, Antenna Thelymitra


Macdonaldia antennifera

Scientific Classification

Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Thelymitrinae
Genus: Thelymitra


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Late winter and spring


Thelymitra antennifera is a tuberous perennial herb, up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall, with yellow flowers. Its leaf is circular in cross-section and up to 5 inches (12 cm) long. The inflorescence consists of 1 to 4 yellow flowers on a wiry, zig-zagged, often pinkish stem. Each flower is up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) across, with a lemon or vanilla scent. The column is up to 0.25 inch (6 mm), with dark brown arms that are ear-like and held high above the column.

Thelymitra antennifera - Rabbit Eeared Sun Orchid
Photo via


USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Sun Orchids can be very tricky in cultivation. However, most are fairly amenable, and some are very easy. All plants are summer dormant and rest as tuberoids. Plants emerge in late summer and flower in late winter, spring, and early summer.

Culture as sunny as possible. In milder climates, garden culture is possible. Frost hardy up to 23°F (-5°C). Regular watering during the growing period is essential. Fertilize monthly until flowering. Reduce watering with the onset of flowers and stop as the leaves die back. Completely dry during dormancy. Occasionally a light spray of water for small plants and seedlings to prevent dehydration. If grown inside, move plants temporary outside in late summer as cool nights and some rain will stimulate plants into the new growing season. See more at How to Grow and Care for Sun Orchids.


Native to Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria and northern parts of Tasmania.


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