Dianella caerulea (PHORMIACEAE) Blue Flax Lily, Paroo Lily

Plants to Plant

Clumping plant of erect strap like leaves to about 1 metre. Can tolerate damp conditions (prefers dry), widespread native found in many parts of Australia. Very hardy and long-lived once established. Grows in full sun and well-drained soil up to a height of 1 m and a width of 2.5 m. Can die if mulched, prefers unmulched sites. Also suspect if it grows fast to cover an area, as subsequently it seems to die back to the extremeties of such growth. In the wild it is an occasional plant in complex grassy and rocky vine scrubs or dry eucalypt forests, although it will also do well in the upper sections of the riparian areas.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers

Blue star shaped flowers produced on long stems in spring followed by attractive purple berries.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Dianella Fruit

The fruit is edible, but one has to imagine that the extreme colour must have some interesting properties. It might be wise not to gorge oneself. Fresh ripe seed germinates after about a month.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers and Green Fruit

Dianella is the diminutive of Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting and queen of the woods and the original species was found in the woods of a French province; caerulea from Latin caeruleus, the deep blue of the Mediterranean sky at midday, referring to the colour of the berries. Caelum is Latin for sky, and is pronounced ky-lom, so presumably caerulea is pronounced ky-roo-lee-a (if you wish to pronounce it properly in Latin).

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers Close-up

Family Phormiaceae (rhizomatous herbs or subshrubs). Also placed in Liliaceae, Hemerocallidaceae. Dianella caerulea was first collected by Banks and Solander in 1770 when they landed at Bustard Bay on the Central Queensland coast.

Photo: Mark Crocker