Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dianella caerulea Sims var. caerulea

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Sims, J. (1891) Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock Bulletin 9. Botany Bulletin 3: 19.

Common name

Blueberry Plant; Flax Lily; Blue Berry Lily; Paroo Lily; Blue Flax Lily


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1 m tall.


Leaf blades about 30-37 x 1-1.5 cm, 'petioles' about 7-8 cm long. Leaf blade narrowed into a petiole-like structure and then expanded into a sheathing leaf base. Underside of the midrib and at least part of the margin minutely serrate. 'Petioles' compressed and flattened. Veins longitudinal, parallel, raised on the abaxial (lower) surface, discrete but almost touching one another.


Inflorescence about 35 cm long, primary peduncle about 60 cm long. Tepals about 5-6 mm long. Anthers yellow, about 3-4 mm long. Filaments transversely wrinkled, swollen and yellow-orange in colour close to their points of attachment to the anthers. Pollen white. Ovary dark green, style and stigma white.


Fruits globose, about 8-14 x 8-15 mm. Seeds ovoid, about 3-4 x 2 mm. Embryo about 2-3 mm long.


'Cotyledonary petiole' about 5-7 mm long, attached to the seed and seedling. First pair of leaves difficult to distinguish from cataphylls, filiform, longitudinally veined, base clasping the stem. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves arranged in a fan, leaf base clasping the stem. Margin and the midrib on the underside of the leaf blade finely toothed. Venation fine and longitudinal. Seed germination time 119 to 134 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Tasmania. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from near sea level to about 1000 m. The numerous varieties grow in a diverse range of vegetation types including rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Large Dingy Skipper Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

A widely distributed and variable clump forming lily. Numerous forms are now cultivated in pots and gardens including several variegated clones. Leaves are grown commonly for use in flower arrangements.

Dianella caerulea Sims f. caerulea, Mitteilungen aus dem Botanischen Museum der Universit~ut Z~yrich 163 : 268(1940). Dianella caerulea Sims, Curtis's Botanical Magazine 15 : t. 50(1802), Type: .. native of New Holland, and we believe was first raised in this country from seeds from Port Jackson, about the year 1783.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.