Dianella ensifolia (L.) DC.

Etymology Genus Diana, a goddness in Greek Mythology
Species Sword-shaped leaves
Family Hemerocallidaceae
Synonyms Charlwoodia ensata (Thunb.) Göpp, Cordyline ensifolia (L.) Planch., Dracaena ensifolia L.
Common Names Flax Lily, Akar Siak
Status Native: Common
Form Herb
Native Distribution Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands


Dianella ensifolia can be found in sunny areas of our rainforests and also along the rocky shores. It grows in clumps with grass-like leaves. The flowers can be purple-blue, white, or yellow (Samy et al., 2014). The berry ripens to bluish purple.

Interesting Facts:

The various parts of the plant is used in traditional medicine in parts of Southeast Asia. The roots are chewed or applied as a vermifuge in Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia. The leaves are also used to treat wounds and ailments like boils, itch, iaundice, etc. See more at Samy et al. (2014).

The Flax Lily on a rocky cliff at one of our Southern Islands.

Folded leaf bases.

Leaf underside.

Leaf tip.




Samy J, M Sugumaran & KLW Lee. (2014) 100 Useful Herbs of Malaysia and Singapore. Marshall Cavendish Edition, Singapore. 247 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2014-03-15 / Modified: 2017-12-25