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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Asphodelaceae
Subfamilia: Hemerocallidoideae
Genus: Dianella
Subgenera: D. subg. Dianella – D. subg. Rhuacophila
Species: D. acutifolia – D. adenanthera – D. amoena – D. atraxis – D. bambusifolia – D. boliviana – D. brevicaulis – D. brevipedunculata – D. caerulea – D. callicarpa – D. carolinensis – D. congesta – D. crinoides – D. daenikeri – D. dentata – D. ensifolia – D. fruticans – D. haematica – D. incollata – D. intermedia – D. javanica – D. latissima – D. longifolia – D. monophylla – D. nervosa – D. nigra – D. odorata – D. pavopennacea – D. pendula – D. plicata – D. porracea – D. prunina – D. rara – D. revoluta – D. saffordiana – D. sandwicensis – D. serrulata – D. stipitata – D. tarda – D. tasmanica – D. tenuissima

Dianella Lam., in Juss., Genera Plantarum: 41. (1789)

Type species: Dianella ensata (Thunb.) R.J.F.Hend..


Diana Comm. ex Lam., Encycl. 2: 276 (1786)
Type species: non design.
Excremis Willd. in Schult. in Roem. & Schult., Syst. Veg., ed. 15, bis 7(1): 354. 1829.
Type species: Excremis ramosa Willd.
Rhuacophila Blume, Enum. Pl. Javae: 13 (1827)
Type species: Rhuacophila javanica Blume


Lamarck, J.B.A.P. de Monnet (1789) Genera Plantarum 41. BHL
Govaerts, R. et al. 2015. Dianella in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2015 Sept. 19. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2015. Dianella. Published online. Accessed: Sept. 19 2015.
Tropicos.org 2015. Dianella. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2015 Sept. 19.

Dianella is a genus of about forty species of flowering plants in the monocot family Asphodelaceae and are commonly known as flax lilies.[2] Plants in this genus are tufted herbs with more or less linear leaves and bisexual flowers with three sepals more or less similar to three petals and a superior ovary, the fruit a berry. They occur in Africa, South-east Asia, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

Several species of this genus, or the whole genus, are sometimes referred to by the common name blue flax lily, particularly in Australia.[3][4][5]


Plants in the genus Dianella are tufted perennial, rhizomatous herbs with fibrous or fleshy roots, more or less linear leaves with their bases overlapping, bisexual flowers with three sepals more or less similar to three blue, purple or white petals and a superior ovary, and the fruit a berry.[6][7][8][9]

The name Dianella was first formally published by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1786 in his Encyclopédie Méthodique. Botanique,[10] but this did not validly establish the 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]

The type species for the genus is Dianella ensata,[15] now a synonym of Dianella ensifolia.[16]

Dianella is closely related to Thelionema and Herpolirion.[17]
Distribution and habitat

Plants in the genus Dianella occur in Africa, South-east Asia, the Pacific Islands including Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. About half of the species are native to Australia.[18]
Species list

The following is a list of Dianella species accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as at October 2020:

  • Dianella acutifolia Schlittler - New Caledonia
  • Dianella adenanthera (G.Forst.) R.J.F.Hend. - numerous Pacific Islands
  • Dianella amoena G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - Tasmania, Victoria
  • Dianella atraxis R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  • Dianella bambusifolia Hallier f. - Queensland, New Guinea
  • Dianella brevicaulis (Ostenf.) G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - southern Australia
  • Dianella brevipedunculata R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  • Dianella caerulea Sims - New Guinea, eastern Australia
    • Dianella caerulea var. aquilonia R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea var. assera R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea Sims var. caerulea
    • Dianella caerulea var. cinerascans R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea var. petasmatodes R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea var. producta R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea var. protensa R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella caerulea var. vannata R.J.F.Hend.
  • Dianella callicarpa G.W.Carr & P.F.Horsfall - Victoria
  • Dianella carolinensis Lauterb. - Micronesia
  • Dianella congesta R.Br. - Queensland, New South Wales
  • Dianella crinoides R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland, New South Wales
  • Dianella daenikeri Schlittler - New Caledonia
  • Dianella dentata Schlittler - southeastern China
  • 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
  • Dianella fruticans R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  • Dianella haematica Heenan & de Lange - North Island of New Zealand
  • Dianella incollata R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
  • Dianella intermedia Endl. - Norfolk Island of Australia
  • Dianella javanica (Blume) Kunth - Southeast Asia, Papuasia
  • Dianella latissima Heenan & de Lange - North Island of New Zealand
  • Dianella longifolia R.Br. - widespread in Australia
    • Dianella longifolia var. fragrans R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella longifolia var. grandis R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella longifolia R.Br. var. longifolia
    • Dianella longifolia var. stenophylla Domin
    • Dianella longifolia var. stupata R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella longifolia var. surculosa R.J.F.Hend.
  • Dianella monophylla Hallier f. - New Guinea
  • Dianella nervosa R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland, New South Wales
  • Dianella nigra Colenso - North + South Islands of New Zealand
  • Dianella odorata Blume - Maluku, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Queensland, Northern Territory
  • Dianella pavopennacea R.J.F.Hend. - Queensland
    • Dianella pavopennacea var. major R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella pavopennacea R.J.F.Hend. var. pavopennacea
    • Dianella pavopennacea var. robusta R.J.F.Hend.
  • Dianella pendula Schlittler - îles Loyauté of New Caledonia
  • Dianella plicata Schlittler - New Caledonia
  • Dianella porracea (R.J.F.Hend.) Horsfall & G.W.Carr - Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia
  • Dianella prunina R.J.F.Hend. - New South Wales
  • Dianella rara R.Br. - Queensland
  • Dianella revoluta R.Br. - widespread in Australia
    • Dianella revoluta var. divaricata R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella revoluta var. minor R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella revoluta (R.Br.) R.J.F.Hend.var. revoluta
    • Dianella revoluta var. tenuis R.J.F.Hend.
    • Dianella revoluta var. vinosa R.J.F.Hend.
  • Dianella saffordiana Fosberg & Sachet - Guam
  • Dianella sandwicensis Hook. & Arn. - New Caledonia, Hawaiian Islands, Marquesas
  • Dianella serrulata Hallier f. - Queensland, New Guinea
  • Dianella stipitata Schlittler - New Caledonia
  • Dianella tarda Horsfall & G.W.Carr - New South Wales, Victoria
  • Dianella tasmanica Hook.f. - Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales
  • Dianella tenuissima G.W.Carr - New South Wales


Several species of Dianella are grown for their attractive foliage and shiny, blue to purple berries.[19]

Reports of the edibility of the fruit range from very poisonous[20][21] to sweet and nutty (such as D. caerulea),[22] and the beach flax lily (D. congesta) is reportedly the best-tasting.[23]

The leaves are used to weave dillies and baskets by Indigenous Australians.[23]
See also

List of plants known as lily


"Dianella". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
Robinson, Les (1991). Field guide to the native plants of Sydney. Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press. p. 231. ISBN 0864171927.
"Blue flax lily (Dianella)". Children’s Health Queensland. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
"Dianella caerulea – Blue Flax Lily". Gardening With Angus. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
"Dianella brevipedunculata". Australian Plants Online. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
Henderson, Rodney J.F. "Dianella Lam". Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment: Canberra. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
Conran, John G. "Dianella". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
Wilson, Karen L. "Genus Dianella". Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
"Dianella Lam". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. 1786. Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique. 2:176 (See External links below).
Rodney J.F. Henderson. 1977. Typification of Dianella Lam. ex Juss. (Liliaceae). Taxon 26(1):131-137.
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1789), Genera Plantarum, Paris: Herrisant and Barrois, p. 41 (See External links" below)
Dianella in International Plant Names Index. (see External links below).
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).
Dianella In: Index Nominum Genericorum. In: Regnum Vegetabile (see External links below).
"Dianella ensata", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2012-05-25
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.
Starting out with Natives, John Wriggley & Murray Fagg
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).
"Garden plants poisonous to people" (PDF). New South Wales Government Department of Primary Industries. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
Wild food plants of Australia, Tim Low

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