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South Australia’s coastal native flax lily

South Australia’s native flax lily is botanically named Dianella brevicaulis and is the coastal form of Dianella revoluta but it does inhabit inland areas as well. It is a clumping plant that spreads by underground rhizomes and can reach half a metre in height and 1-2 metres wide depending on the soil fertility and rainfall.

The foliage is strap-like, erect and can vary in shades of grey to green and makes an ideal landscaping plant. The blue flowers appear on spikes from late winter through to early summer and are followed by berries which are fleshy and can be shades of blue through to purple and shine in the sunlight. Many of our native birds seek out the fleshy fruit and I have observed Rosellas and Wattle birds having a feast of them.

The native flax lily is easy to grow and not too fussy about its soil requirements as they will grow in poor soils and in most soil types but probably best suited to a sunny aspect. I have seen plants growing right on the seaside foreshore where they would receive salt spray so they are excellent coastal plants. They are ideal for a rockery or for planting along a border or even as a container plant. They are one of these landscape plants that can be used strategically in public places to direct traffic as they wouldn’t be easily trampled on.

The native flax lily are long lived, extremely hardy and once established they will need no additional water to survive. They grow quite happily at the State Flora Nursery at Murray Bridge on 325 millimetres of rainfall per annum and survived quite nicely during the drought years.