I so love picking flowers in my Blackheath garden, but I rather regret gathering native dianella from the woodland areas. It looks so much better ‘en place’. The name of course derives from Diana, goddess of the woods. Its tiny blue flowers are quite complex, with their yellow filaments and brown anthers. It was raining when I took the photo below and the drops were enough to make the stems tremble.
Here are some (OK, a lot) that I did pick, and placed in a galvanized pot. The poor things were sacrificed to my penchant for rustic containers and photography.
I should have realized that native blue-banded bees would be attracted to dianella, as they also love my lavender flowers.
After the flowers come bright, purple berries. They are sometimes stolen by satin bowerbirds, who add them to their hoards of blue treasures around their bowers to attract females. They perfectly match the mature male’s violet eye. Of course bowerbirds are intelligent creatures. They quickly discovered that blue plastic bottle tops and clothes pegs last an awful lot longer that native berries! How much prettier their bowers would be if blue wren feathers and dianella flowers and berries were the main items on display.
The berries of some varieties (NOT the Tasmanian ones) are said to be edible, and have been used to magical effect on this peach and pistachio gateau. I must say that when I tried them on a pavlova I was not that impressed with the taste. It looked great though. Here in the Blue Mountains the local variety is Dianella caerulea.
The plant has strap like leaves, used by indigenous Australians to make twine or to weave into baskets. For this reason they are also known as flax lilies.
For more on the uses of dianella by indigenous Australians, CLICK HERE.