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Useful Tropical Plants

Dianella ensifolia

(L.) DC.

Xanthorrhoeaceae

+ Synonyms

Cordyline ensifolia (L.) Planch.

Dianella ensata (Thunb.) R.J.F.Hend.

Dianella nemorosa Lam.

Dracaena ensata Thunb.

Dracaena ensifolia L.

Dracaena nemorosa (Lam.) Steud.

Common Name:

Dianella ensifolia
Fruiting plants
Photograph by: Keisotyo
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Dianella ensifolia Dianella ensifolia Dianella ensifolia

General Information

Dianella ensifolia is an evergreen, perennial herb with grass-like leaves growing from a branched, gradually spreading rhizome. It can grow up to 1.5 metres tall, spreading at the roots to form quite large clumps[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for use as a medicine, insect, pesticide and dye. It is grown as an ornamental, especially in rockeries[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is considered poisonous in China, and cattle are said to die from eating it[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Southern tropical Africa, through tropical and subtropical Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Habitat

Low altitude evergreen rainforest, often beside rivers, in deep shade of forest floor, usually forming dense stands[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
]. Forests and grassy slopes from near sea level to elevations of 1,700 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Succeeds in tropical and subtropical climates.
Grows best in a sunny position[
974
Title
Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants - Identification and Cultivation of over 3,000 Tropical Plants
Publication
 
Author
Ahmed Fayaz
Publisher
Firefly Books Ltd.; New Zealand
Year
2011
ISBN
978-1-55407-489
Description
A good photograph and terse but detailed information for over 3,000 species of tropical plants. An excellent reference.
]. Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant has a long flowering season, sometimes flowering all year round[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Some caution should be employed if using this plant internally due to reports of toxicity[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The dried fibrous roots are chewed as a vermifuge[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A decoction is also drunk as a post-partum aid - the taste is sweetish[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Applied externally, the roots are used to make a poultice that is placed on the abdomen to act as a vermifuge[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The ashes of the roots and leaves are applied as an ointment for treating boils, itch, jaundice, herpes sores and rheumatism[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The leaves are applied to wounds[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The whole plant is an ingredient in a treatment for chronic infections of the skin[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant was formerly taken internally in China in the treatment of dysentery, dysuria, leucorrhoea and blenorrhoea, but nowadays it is only applied externally, in pounded form, to treat scrofulous glands[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]

An infusion of the stem is recommended to treat fatigue[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

The juice from the berries is a source of a pale blue dye[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
The above report is somewhat suspect. It is listed for the species D. nemorosa, which is a synonym of this species. It goes on to say that the dye is used by Hawaiians, but the plant is not native to Hawaii. It further quotes D. sandwicensis as a synonym for this species, whereas D. sandwicensis is a recognised species that is found in Hawaii. It is therefore likely that this report really refers to D. sandwicensis[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The pounded fresh rhizome, mixed with rice, is roasted and used for killing mice and rats[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The aromatic rhizomes and roots are ingredients in cosmetics and perfume[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The leaves are boiled and used for fumigations (incense)[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in lukewarm water and then sow in individual containers, placing 3 - 4 seeds in a pot. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 25°c[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
]. When large enough to handle, thin the seedlings to the best one or two and then grow on until large enough to plant out.
Division as the plants come into growth[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on until they are rooting well.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-05-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Dianella+ensifolia>

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