Dianella (plant)

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Dianella flowers.jpg
Dianella sp.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Hemerocallidoideae
Genus: Dianella
Lamarck ex. A.L. Jussieu
Type species
Dianella ensata
  • Diana Comm. ex Lam.
  • Rhuacophila Blume

Dianella is a monocot genus of flowering plants.[2] They are commonly called flax lilies.

In the APG II system of plant classification, Dianella was placed in the family Hemerocallidaceae. When that system was replaced by APG III in 2009, Hemerocallidaceae was combined with two other families,[3] called Asphodelaceae in the APG IV system.[4]

Dianella ranges from Japan to India, thence south to Australia and New Zealand; it also occurs on many Pacific Islands. About half of the species are native to Australia.[5] Several species are grown for their attractive foliage and shiny, blue to purple berries.[6] Estimates of the number of species range from 20[2] to more than 40.[1] The type species for the genus is Dianella ensata,[7] now a synonym of Dianella ensifolia.[8]

Dianella is closely related to Thelionema and Herpolirion.[9]



  • Underground rhizome
  • Long, strappy leaves up to 1 meter long, ranging from deep to pale green, to blue-green
  • Blue flowers in spring, with 3 petals, 3 sepals, and prominent yellow stamens
  • Shiny blue to purple berries up to 1.5 centimeters in diameter, spherical or elongated with spongy pulp and shiny black seeds
Dianella 'Sea Breeze'


The genus name Dianella was published by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1786 in his Encyclopédie Méthodique. Botanique,[10] but this did not validly establish the botanical name because Lamarck did not include a description of the new genus.[11] Antoine Laurent de Jussieu made it a correct name in 1789 when he published a description in the first edition of his Genera Plantarum.[12][13] In an etymology of this name, Umberto Quattrocchi states that Dianella is "diminutive of Diana, the mythical goddess of hunting, the sylvan goddess.[14]


As of September 2014, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes 41 species:[1]

  1. Dianella acutifolia Schlittler - New Caledonia
  2. Dianella adenanthera (G.Forst.) R.J.F.Hend. - numerous Pacific Islands
  3. Dianella amoena G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - Tasmania, Victoria
  4. Dianella atraxis R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  5. Dianella bambusifolia Hallier f. - Queensland, New Guinea
  6. Dianella boliviana Schlittler - Bolivia
  7. Dianella brevicaulis (Ostenf.) G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - southern Australia
  8. Dianella brevipedunculata R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  9. Dianella caerulea Sims - New Guinea, eastern Australia
  10. Dianella callicarpa G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - Victoria
  11. Dianella carolinensis Lauterb. - Micronesia
  12. Dianella congesta R.Br. - Queensland, New South Wales
  13. Dianella crinoides R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland, New South Wales
  14. Dianella daenikeri Schlittler - New Caledonia
  15. Dianella dentata Schlittler - southeastern China
  16. Dianella ensifolia (L.) DC. (syn. D. ensata) Chimanimani Mountains of southern Africa; Indian Subcontinent, China, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Japan, islands in Indian Ocean
  17. Dianella fruticans R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  18. Dianella haematica Heenan & de Lange - North Island of New Zealand
  19. Dianella incollata R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  20. Dianella intermedia Endl. - Norfolk Island of Australia
  21. Dianella javanica (Blume) Kunth - Southeast Asia, Papuasia
  22. Dianella latissima Heenan & de Lange - North Island of New Zealand
  23. Dianella longifolia R.Br. - widespread in Australia
  24. Dianella monophylla Hallier f. - New Guinea
  25. Dianella nervosa R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland, New South Wales
  26. Dianella nigra Colenso - North + South Islands of New Zealand
  27. Dianella odorata Blume - Maluku, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Queensland, Northern Territory
  28. Dianella pavopennacea R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  29. Dianella pendula Schlittler - îles Loyauté of New Caledonia
  30. Dianella plicata Schlittler - New Caledonia
  31. Dianella porracea (R.J.F.Hend.) Horsfall & G.W.Carr - Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia
  32. Dianella prunina R.J.F.Hend. - New South Wales
  33. Dianella rara R.Br. - Queensland
  34. Dianella revoluta R.Br. - widespread in Australia
  35. Dianella saffordiana Fosberg & Sachet - Guam
  36. Dianella sandwicensis Hook. & Arn. - New Caledonia, Hawaiian Islands, Marquesas
  37. Dianella serrulata Hallier f. - Queensland, New Guinea
  38. Dianella stipitata Schlittler - New Caledonia
  39. Dianella tarda Horsfall & G.W.Carr - New South Wales, Victoria
  40. Dianella tasmanica Hook.f. - Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales
  41. Dianella tenuissima G.W.Carr - New South Wales

Australian species (incomplete)[edit]

New Zealand species[edit]


Some species can be cultivated. They are frost-hardy and grow in full sun or partial shade. They can be propagated by division of the rhizome. Some plants have dense, attractive foliage and showy flowers and fruits.

Reports of the edibility of the fruit range from very poisonous[17][18] to sweet and nutty (such as D. caerulea),[19] and the beach flax lily (D. congesta) is reportedly the best-tasting.[15]

The leaves are used to weave dillies and baskets by Indigenous Australians.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d Search for "Dianella", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2014-09-04
  2. ^ a b H. Trevor Clifford, Rodney J.F. Henderson, and John G. Conran. 1998. "Hemerocallidaceae" pages 245-253. In: Klaus Kubitzki (editor). 1998. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants volume III. Springer-Verlag: Berlin;Heidelberg, Germany. ISBN 978-3-540-64060-8
  3. ^ Mark W. Chase, James L. Reveal, and Michael F. Fay. "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(2):132–136.
  4. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
  5. ^ Starting out with Natives, John Wriggley & Murray Fagg
  6. ^ Anthony Huxley, Mark Griffiths, and Margot Levy (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. The Macmillan Press, Limited: London. The Stockton Press: New York. ISBN 978-0-333-47494-5 (set).
  7. ^ Dianella In: Index Nominum Genericorum. In: Regnum Vegetabile (see External links below).
  8. ^ "Dianella ensata", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2012-05-25
  9. ^ Dion S. Devey, Ilia Leitch, Paula J. Rudall, J. Chris Pires, Yohan Pillon, and Mark W. Chase. "Systematics of Xanthorrhoeaceae sensu lato, with an emphasis on Bulbine". Aliso 22(Monocots: Comparative Biology and Evolution):345-351. ISSN 0065-6275.
  10. ^ Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. 1786. Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique. 2:176 (See External links below).
  11. ^ Rodney J.F. Henderson. 1977. Typification of Dianella Lam. ex Juss. (Liliaceae). Taxon 26(1):131-137.
  12. ^ Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1789), Genera Plantarum, Paris: Herrisant and Barrois, p. 41 (See External links" below)
  13. ^ Dianella in International Plant Names Index. (see External links below).
  14. ^ Umberto Quattrocchi. 2000. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names volume II. CRC Press: Boca Raton; New York; Washington, DC;, USA. London, UK. ISBN 978-0-8493-2676-9 (vol. II). (see External links below).
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Wild food plants of Australia, Tim Low
  16. ^ "Dianella brevicaulis". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  17. ^ http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/112796/garden-plants-poisonous-to-people.pdf, page 8
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2011-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]