Taisha is again the author of today’s entry. She writes:
Common names for Dianella ensifolia include cerulean flax-lily, New Zealand lilyplant and umbrella-dracaena. The three images of this species’ inflorescence, flower and fruit were taken by Bart Wursten (aka zimbart@Flickr) on a trip to Mozambique (and shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Thanks for contributing again, Bart!
Dianella ensifolia occurs in a broad range of habitats, from seashores to open scrubland to open lowland forests. According to Bart, this species is widespread on the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius, and Réunion, but known only from the African mainland from forested areas at the foot of Chimanimani mountains in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In Asia, this species is distributed across much of the southeastern part of the continent in temperate and tropical regions. Notably, despite one of its common names, this particular species is not native to New Zealand.
The cerulean flax-lily is a rhizomatous species with long, narrow leaves (“ensiform”). The flowers are arranged in a terminal cymose panicle. These later develop into blue-purple berries. This species has many regional-dependent uses in Asia. For example, the dried fibrous roots may be used medicinally by chewing, imbibed in a decoction, applied with a poultice, or applied as an ointment (often as ashes and sometimes including the ashes of the leaves as well). Another use for the roots is as an ingredient in perfume and cosmetics. The fresh rhizome has also been pounded, mixed with rice, and finally roasted to set a poison for killing mice and rats.