Dianella ensifolia (L.) DC.


Dianella ensifolia (L.) DC.




Dracaena ensifolia L., Dianella nemorosa Lamk ex Schiller f., nom. inval., Dianella parviflora Ridley.

Vernacular Names


Benjuang, sagatit, siak-siak jantan, akar siak (Peninsular).

English Flax lily, umbrella dracaena.
Indonesia Jamaka (Sundanese), menuntil (Sumatra), labeh-labeh (Kalimantan).
Thailand Ka kam laen (Eastern), ma phraao paa (Northern), lamphan (South-eastern).
New Guinea Bururl (Mendi), moalengen (Aiome), tanglenu (Wigote).

Ablaas (Bagobo), bariu-bariu (Panay Bisaya), hogangan (Ifugao).


H[uw][ow]ng, b[af]i, l[uw][owx]i d[oof]ng, r[er] qu[aj]t.

Brunei Akar yanyang (Sengkurong).

Geographical Distributions

Dianella ensifolia occurs from tropical Africa through Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka to the Himalayas, tropical Asia, southern China, Taiwan, Japan, Malesia and the Pacific Islands.


Dianella ensifolia is a rhizomatous herb, 0.6-1(-2) m tall, with compressed stems, rigid and unbranched. The rhizomes are branched, white, measuring 6-10 mm thick, with scales 2-8 cm long, with fibrous roots, long, profusely branched, with a particular smell and brown.

The leaves are rosulate at the base, distichous on stem, narrowly elliptical to narrowly lance-shaped, measuring 30-60 cm x 2-3 cm, rigid, with keeled base, compressed, with sheathing, acute at apex, with rough margins and parallel-veined.

The inflorescence is a terminal, loosely cymose panicle, and measures 30-60 cm long exceeding the leaves. The peduncle is 30-75 cm long, ribbed, flexible when young, with ovate-lance-shaped bracts, measuring 5-10 mm long and with sheaths at the base. The bracteoles are 2-5 mm long and deltoid. The flowers are bisexual, actinomorphic, with pedicel 6-12 mm long, jointed just beneath the flower, and decurved or not. The perianth segments are free in 2 groups of 3 that are subequal, narrowly ovate, measuring 7-8 mm long, shortly apiculate, pale purplish-blue but sometimes white or yellowish, 5-7-veined, greenish beneath the outer segments and spreading at the anthesis. There are 6 stamens. The filaments are 2 mm long, white, dilated at apex into an irregularly lobed structure 1-2 mm long, bright yellow to orange, topped by the basifixed anther, oblong, measuring 3 mm long, yellowish brown and open with longitudinal slits. The ovary is 2-4 mm long, superior, 3-locular and with slender style while the stigma is minutely covered with nipple-like protuberances.

The fruit is a fleshy berry, measuring 9-15 mm in diametre, blue-purple and shiny when ripens. It is 3-4-seeded. The seed is ovoid, 5 mm long, shortly beaked, smooth, black and shiny.


Ecology / Cultivation

Dianella ensifolia occurs in a wide range of habitats, from open grasslands to primary forests, from sea level up to 3000 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph


Read More

  1)  Safety


    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.