Thelymitra villosa (Custard Orchid)

Scientific Name

Thelymitra villosa Lindl.

Common Names

Custard Orchid


Thelymitra pardalina

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: September to November


Thelymitra villosa is a terrestrial, perennial, deciduous herb with an underground tuber with a single, erect leaf at the base of the flowering stem. The leaf is up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide and covered with white, silky hairs. Up to 20 flowers, each up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter are borne on a flowering stem up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. The flowers are yellow with varying amounts of red-brown spots and blotches. The distinctive column is yellow, reddish or brown with a glandular mid-lobe and hairy lateral lobes which are joined to each other.

Thelymitra villosa - Custard 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


It is endemic to the south western corner of Western Australia.


Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.