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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

41. Dianella Lamarck ex Jussieu, Gen. Pl. 41. 1789.

Flax-lily [Latin Diana, Roman sylvan goddess, and -ella, diminutive suffix, alluding to the forest habitat and small stature]

Frederick H. Utech

Herbs, perennial, evergreen, scapose, mat-forming, from stout, creeping, scaly rhizomes with fibrous, tuberous roots. Leaves basal, radical, distichous, crowded, sheathing, firm to subcoriaceous; blade linear to broadly ensiform, basal sheaths connate into short tubes, margins entire or serrulate, apex obtuse. Scape elongate, 0.5–1 m. Inflorescences paniculate, loosely branching with short, terminal racemes, bracteate; bracts small. Flowers nodding to ascending; tepals 6, persistent, withering, distinct, subequal, narrowly oblong to ovate, 3–7-veined; stamens 6, distinct; filaments barely adnate to tepal bases, thickened distally; anthers basifixed, dehiscence extrorse, opening by terminal pores that become longitudinal slits; ovary superior, 3-locular, septal nectaries present; style filiform; stigma minute, capitate; pedicel slender, articulate distally. Fruits rather long-persistent, baccate, blue to bluish purple, ovoid-globose. Seeds black, lustrous, ovate, somewhat flattened. x = 8.

Species 12–20 (1 in the flora): introduced; tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, and Polynesia.


Schlittler, J. 1940. Monographie der Liliaceengattung Dianella Lam. Mitt. Bot. Mus. Univ. Zürich 163: 1–283. Schlittler, J. 1948. Unsere gegenwäertige Kenntnis über die Liliaceengattung Dianella in Malesien. Blumea 6: 200–228. Schlittler, J. 1957. Die Verbreitung der Liliaceengattung Dianella Lam. in Zusammenhang mit der Organdifferenzierung und der Arealbildung. Mitt. Bot. Mus. Univ. Zürich 207: 1–38.

Lower Taxon


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