In season now: Blue flax lily
Here they are! If you live on the East Coast of Australia you have probably noticed the blue berries popping up along park trails and in street plantings.
I have a hunch, I think the native nurseries found a way to economically propagate the plant.
It is undeniable that about 4-5 years ago the various contractors and bush regenerators started to plant the native Blue flax lily everywhere. In parks, reserves, along the fence of children's playgrounds, in schools, in streets green areas, just under the trees. Indeed if you look around those areas in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Brisbane, Melbourne, the low bright green sedge-looking plants are either Blue flax lily ( Dianella caerulea) or Matt rushes (lamandra spp. also native).
Why all at the sudden the change in plantings? My suspicion is that the nurseries found the way to propagate them cheaply..
AND LUCKY US! Indeed those blue berries bursting out of the bushes right now are just delicious!
Have a look at the images below, easy to recognise, distinctive flowers and distinctive berries.
High competition with skinks and lizards (who also love them) and beware, the season is very short, you only got until the end of the year for them, about 4/5 weeks.
General warning about collecting from urban environs: if you do not know the spraying regime of the area you shouldn't be touching the bushes. If you do not know the history of the soil, you shouldn't be eating from the plants. Important! This is a native specie, please treat with respect and do not damage the plant, as is probably part of a bush regeneration site. Never over harvest. Finally, some berries taste better than others, as there is variability from plant to plant. Don't despair, when you find the sweet-berry-bearing-bush you'll know what I mean. Be nice to nature, say thank you for the gifts.
Name: Blue flax lily
Latin Name: Dianella caerulea
Description: A plant which keeps growing from year to year. It forms mats, growing to 1.5 m high and spreading to 1.5 m across. The stem is erect, the leaves are long and strap like. They can be 75 cm long with rough edges. The flowers are star shaped, blue and in loose clusters at the ends of branches. The fruit are shiny blue berries 7-12 mm long.
Notes: It adapts readily to cultivation and is commonly seen in Australian gardens and amenities plantings.
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is up to 1.5cm in diameter. Roots – The length of rhizomes are pounded and roasted.
Warnings: None Known
Medicinal Uses: None Known
Other Uses: Basketry; Fibre.
Other Information: A very strong silky fibre is obtained from the leaves. The leaves are also used in making baskets.
Links: Plant for a Future