This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(diminutive of Diana, goddess of the hunt). Liliaceae. Tender perennial rhizomatous plants, related to Phormium.
Leaves hard, linear, sheathing, grass-like, crowded at base of stem, often 2-3 ft. long: flowers blue, in large loose panicles, on delicate pendent pedicels; perianth withering but not falling, with 6 distinct spreading segments; stamens 6, with thickened filaments; ovary 3-celled, each cell several-ovuled, the style filiform and stigma very small: plant bearing great numbers of pretty blue berries, which remain attractive for several weeks, and are the chief charm of the plant. - There are about a dozen species in tropical Asia, Austral, and Polynesia. They perhaps succeed best in the open border of a cool greenhouse. Prop, by division, or by seeds sown in spring in mild heat. They are little known in this country. They are spring and summer bloomers.
A. Lvs, radical or nearly so.
Hook, f. Height 4-5 ft.: leaves numerous, in a rosette, broadly ensiform, 2-4 ft. long, 3/4-l in. wide, margined with small reddish brown spines that cut the hand if the leaves are carelessly grasped: panicle very lax, surpassing the leaves 1-2 ft., with as many as 60 flowers; flowers pale blue, nodding, 1/2-3/4in- across, segments finally reflexed; anthers 1 line long: berries bright blue, on very slender pedicels. Tasmania and Austral. B.M. 5551. variety variegata, Bull. Leaves handsomely striped with light yellow. R.B. 29:61.
R. Br. Leaves 1-1 1/2 ft. long, 6-9 lines wide, less leathery and paler than in D. caerulea and at first slightly glaucous: panicle deltoid, the branches more compound than in D. revoluta, outer segments of the perianth with 5 distant veins, inner ones densely 3-veined in the middle third; anthers 1 1/2 lines long. Eastern temperate parts of Austral. B.R. 751. L.B.C. 12:1136 (both as D. strumosa).
R. Br. Height 2-3 ft.: Ivs. in a rosette, 1-1 1/2 ft. long, 3-4 lines wide, dark green, purplish at the base and margin, not spiny at the margin: panicle branches short, ascending; flowers later than D. casrulea; veins of the perianth-segments crowded into a central space. W. and E. Austral, in temperate parts. Tasmania. B.R. 734 (as D. longifolia); 1120.
aa. Leaves more or less scattered on stems that often branch at base.
Sims. Sub-shrubby, with a short stem in age, branching: leaves about 6, clustered at the ends of branches, 9-12 in. long, 6-9 lines wide, dark green, rough on the back and margin: outer perianth-segments with 5 distant veins, inner ones with 3 closer veins. E. Temp. Austral. B.M. 505.
Lam. (C. ensifolia, Red.) Caulescent 3-6 ft. high, the leaves never in a rosette, numerous, hard, linear, 1-2 ft. long, 9-12 lines wide, lighter-colored on the keel and margin: flowers blue or greenish white. tropical
Asia, China, Austral., Hawaiian Isls. B.M. 1404.
Wilhelm Miller. L. H. B†