Australian Plants online
Index   Back Issues   ANPSA Home

The Dianella Diet - It's Just for the Birds!

Brenda Martin

Take one plant of Dianella revoluta. Plant in a large pot in a sunny position (mine is against a brick wall facing north-east, just under my kitchen window where I can see it).

Allow the plant to thicken and flower - producing sprays of bright blue starry flowers with yellow stamens - enjoy.

Next, allow the plant to go to seed - producing masses of deep blue berries, suspended on tiny stems.

Now, watch! As the berries form and start to ripen, you will have visitors.

Dianella tasmanica   
Dianella tasmanica
Tasman flax lily

My first visitors were the raucous Red Wattlebirds - they swooped down and tried to land on the fragile stems, which could not support their weight. However they were persistent, and half flying/swooping managed to collect and swallow several berries, and then carried some off for the youngsters.

Our next visitors have been the delightful Yellow-faced Honeyeaters - much smaller birds, with tiny curved beaks. These birds consider the Dianella berries to be a gourmet treat, and swallow about 6 to 10 berries at a time, each berry being swallowed whole and requiring quite an effort to get down their small throats. Then they fly away, and return shortly after, for another lot of berries. Some of the larger berries ended up being squashed. They have made no effort to touch the larger berries on the Dianella tasmanica nearby - either being too large, or perhaps do not taste as good.

So, the moral of the story is: Plant more dianellas, and have your very own blue (berry) birds of happiness.

From the newsletter of the South-East New South Wales Group of the Australian Plants Society, February 2005.

Index   Back Issues   ANPSA Home

Australian Plants online - 2006
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants