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Dianella caerulea Sims
Family Phormiaceae
Common name: Blue Flax-lily

Dianella caerulea Sims APNI*

Description: Perennial herb tufted and solitary, or mat-forming; roots fibrous.

Leaves to 75 cm long; sheath conduplicate, a third to ± completely occluded; blade 3–25 mm wide.

Inflorescence exceeding foliage; cymules expanded to contracted, 3–25-flowered. Perianth whitish to dark blue or blue-green; outer tepals 7–11.5 mm long, 5–7-veined; inner tepals 6.3–10.5 mm long, 3–5-veined. Stamens with filament swellings 1–3 mm long, yellow; anthers yellow-brown.

Berry 7–12 mm long.


Photo L.L. Lee

Flowering: spring–summer.

Distribution and occurrence:
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, NWS, CWS
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas.
AVH map***

Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW vol 4 (1993); based on R. Henderson (1987), Flora of Australia vol. 45.

 Key to the varieties 
1Leaf sheath one- to two-thirds occluded distally, Y-shaped in cross section in that region2
Leaf sheaths more than two-thirds occluded distally, ± biconvex in cross section in that region3
2Stems ± condensed, scales few proximally; no extravaginal shoots; perianth mid- to dark blue. Plant tufted, solitary, to 0.5 m high; stems short, leafy, touching or up to 60 cm apart. Cymules ± expanded, fewer than 10-flowered. Perianth mid- to dark bluevar. caerulea
Stems conspicuously elongated, scaly for most of their length; extravaginal shoots developing distally with age; perianth greenish white to bright blue. Plant tufted, solitary, to 1.3 m high; stems elongating, with scales for most of their length, touching or up to 10 cm apart. Cymules ± expanded, 3–6-flowered. Perianth greenish white to blue
                       Back to 1
var. producta
3Leaves strongly glaucous; true stems <10 cm long; inflorescence narrow-cylindrical in outline, interrupted. Plant tufted, solitary to gregarious, to 0.8 m high; stems short, touching or up to 30 cm apart. Cymules contracted, few-flowered. Perianth creamy-green to pale bluevar. cinerascens
Leaves not glaucous; true stems to 1.8 m long; inflorescence from conical to narrow-cylindrical in outline, continuous or interrupted
                       Back to 1
4Stems scaly for most of their length; extravaginal shoots produced distally. Plant tufted, solitary, to 1.8 m high; stems elongating, with scales for most of their length. Cymules expanded or contracted, few-flowered. Perianth pale to mid-blue, often with green streaks externallyvar. assera
Stems leafy for most of their length; no extravaginal shoots
                       Back to 3
5Leaf sheaths not minutely papillose or pubescent; plants forming mats to 2 m diam.; mature leaves subequal in size at several nodes near middle of stem; perianth dark bronze-green to blue-green. Plant mat-forming with mats to 2 m diam., to 1.3 m high; stems elongating, with a few scales below several subequal leaves. Cymules many-flowered, contracted. Perianth dark bronze-green to blue-greenvar. petasmatodes
Leaf sheaths minutely but densely pubescent or papillose; plants forming tufts usually <0.5 m diam.; mature leaves increasing in size upwards; perianth pale to dark blue
                       Back to 4
6Aerial shoots adjacent or up to 30 cm apart, to 0.5 m tall. Plant tufted, solitary, to 0.5 m high; stems elongating somewhat, with scales then leaves increasing in size upwards, to 30 cm apart. Cymules ± expanded, 3–5-flowered. Perianth pale bluevar. protensa
Aerial shoots ± touching, to 1.3 m high. Plant tufted, solitary, to 1.3 m high; stems elongating, ± adjacent, with scale leaves then leaves increasing in size upwards. Cymules expanded to contracted, many-flowered. Perianth very pale to mid-blue
                       Back to 5
var. vannata

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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