Dianella haematica


Dianella: little Diana

Common Name(s)

swamp blueberry, swamp ink berry, swamp Dianella

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - At Risk - Declining
2004 - Sparse


2012 - DP
2009 - DP


Dianella haematica Heenan et de Lange



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Monocotyledonous Herbs


None (first described 2007)


Endemic. North Island. Te Paki south to at least the Mamaku Plateau and near Te Awamutu.


A coastal to lowland wetland species favouring high moor restiad dominated peat bogs. However, it is also known from low moor systems and transitional bogs, the margins of swamps developed within geothermal areas and even from the floating sud communities developed around peat lakes.


Upright, densely tussock-forming evergreen perennial herb; forming very tight, compact and upright clumps; rhizomes up to 20 mm long. Leaves 1-2 m long, 18-25 mm wide, uniformly olive-green to dull dark green, discolourous, usually upright, slightly curved, sometimes drooping, more or less flat, lamina smooth and more or less glossy; margin and abaxial midrib with obscure to prominent minute teeth; apex subacute to more or less obtuse, cucullate; leaf sheaths equitant, tightly clasping, surface and margin weakly to strongly flushed blood-red, red-maroon or pink, especially near base; apex subacute to more or less obtuse, cucullate. Inflorescence erect, 1-2 m long, usually among the leaves; scape slender, arching base asymmetric up to 8.5 x 5.3 mm diameter; panicle 400-700 mm long, branches spreading, short, regularly spaced; cauline leaves subtending branches, leaf-like at the base but reducing in size and becoming bract-like distally; cymules 3-5-flowered; pedicels 9-20 mm long, slightly recurved, terete; bracteoles 1,0-1.2 x c.0.2 mm, narrow-triangular, subtending pedicels, caducous. Flowers nodding, 10-11 mm diameter, opening mid-morning, collapsing late afternoon, perianth segments patent to slightly recurved; sepals 4.8-5.5 x 1.9-2.0 mm, oblong, undersides olive-green flushed red-brown, upper surface paler, apex obtuse; petals 4.1-4.2 x 2.9-3.0 mm, obovate, white, midvein olive-green, apex obtuse to retuse; filaments 6, 1.2-1.4 mm long, white; struma 0.8-1.3 x 0.6-0.7 mm, short oblong to oblong-obovate, yellow, minutely papillose; ovary 1.3-1.5 x c.1.3 mm, green, more or less globular; style 1.4-1.5 mm long, white. Berry 8-20 x 7-10 mm, ovoid to oblong, grey-white and dull to strong violet-blue and glossy, pericarp spongy. Seeds 1.8-2.5 x 2.3-3.2 mm, ovoid, black, shiny.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from D. latissima Heenan et de Lange and D. nigra Colenso by the densely tussock forming habit, with very tight, compact and upright clumps, ascending rhizomes up to 20 mm long; usually blood red (sometimes pink) leaf sheaths; uniformly olive-green to dull dark green, upright leaves up to 2 m long and 25 mm wide, with prominent, harsh but usual sparse teeth on the leaf margins, subacute to hooded leaf apex; inflorescences hidden among the leaves, shortly oblong to oblong-obovate (0.8-1.3 mm long) struma; and by the styles which are 1.4-1.5 mm long cf 2.0-2.2 mm long in D. latissima and 1.7-2.1 mm long in D. nigra. Dianella haematica is further distinguished by its preference for acidic wetland habitats.


September - November

Flower Colours



November - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from the division of whole plants and from fresh seed. Despite its natural restriction to wetlands it is easily grown in most situations.


Seriously at risk from wetland drainage - especially in the greater Waikato (which appears to be its main centre of distribution). Also vulnerable to competiton from wetland weeds such as Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis L.) and grey willow (Salix cinerea L.). Over large parts of its Waikato range it now survives on the margins of drained peat bogs lining roadside ditches where it is vulnerable to weed spraying. These losses are tempered by the high probability that as a new species its exact range has yet to be determined. Previously regarded (as Dianella aff. nigra (b) (AK 252911; Kopouatai)) as Sparse in de Lange et al. (2004).

Chromosome No.

2n = 16

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Fleshy berries are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available

Cultural Use/Importance

For further information refer to:


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (18 December 2007). Description adapted from Heenan & de Lange (2007).

References and further reading

de Lange et al., 2004, Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 45-76.

Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P.J. 2007: Two new species of Dianella (Hemerocallidaceae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 45: 269-285

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 22 Oct 2014