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Dianella tenuissima G.W.Carr
Family Asphodelaceae
Common name: a Flax Lily

Dianella tenuissima G.W.Carr APNI*

Description: Densely to loosely tufted herb to 0.5 m high; roots fibrous, very slender; true aerial stems mostly short, leafy.

Leaves with adaxial surfaces of upper sheath nearly completely fused (occluded); bases dull red or reddish purple; lamina to 86 cm long, (2.5-)3–4(-5.7) mm wide.

Inflorescence much shorter than leaves; flowers facultatively cleistogamous (and autogamous) but most opening to allow pollination. Tepals subequal, 3.5–5.0 mm long, tightly closed or opening to be subcampanulate, very pale brown to pale violet. Stamens with filaments glabrous, markedly sigmoid-geniculate below pale lemon-yellow papillose swelling near apex; anthers pale to deep violet, dehiscing by terminal latrorse slits.

Berry 5–10 mm long, 3–7 mm diam., irridescent violet; seeds 2.3–2.5 mm long, 1.6–1.8 mm diam., shining and glossy.


Distribution and occurrence: In the Blue Mountains (CT) at 800-1200 m altitude; also the Illawarra Escarpment (CC).

In moist pockets on escarpment cliffs and in fissures in sandstone and conglomerate rocks (Narrabeen Group); also in deeper soils of the forests and ravines at the edges of the escarpment.
NSW subdivisions: CT, CC
AVH map***

Unusual in the genus in being mostly cleistogamous, and having very thin roots (indicating more or less permanently moist habitats).

Text by K. L. Wilson (2007) , based on Carr (2006); edited KL Wilson (July 2020)
Taxon concept: GW Carr (2006), Telopea 11(3)

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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