November 25 - December 1, 2012: Issue 86
Pittwater Plants- Blue Flax Lily, Dianella caerulea
Dianella caerulea, commonly known as the Blue flax-lily, blueberry lily, or paroo lily, is a perennial herb of the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, which grows across the eastern states of Australia and Tasmania. It is a herbaceous strappy perennial plant to a metre high, with dark green blade-like leaves to 70 cm long. Blue flowers appear in Spring and Summer and are followed by indigo-coloured berries. It was first described by English taxonomist John Sims in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1802. Its specific name is the Latin adjective caerulea "blue". The genus name is derived from the Roman goddess Diana, with a diminutive suffix -ella. Dianella caerulea is highly variable species, with many forms found throughout eastern Australia. Six varieties are known from the Sydney district alone and there are 19 species across Australia.
They will attract fruit-eating birds and butterflies in gardens. These lovely blue fruits were eaten raw by the Cadigal peoples and are said to have a sweet flavour which becomes nutty once the seeds are chewed. These berries are high in Vitamin C. The leaves were used to make a strong fibre that is woven into baskets. Photos by A J Guesdon.
Reproduction of an image that appeared in The Botanical Magazine vol. 15. no. 505 (1801). The title is Dianella caerulea.Blue Dianella. It depicts the plant species Dianella caerulea. Date 1801