Dianella nigra


Dianella: little Diana
nigra: black

Common Name(s)

turutu, New Zealand blueberry, inkberry

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Dianella nigra Colenso



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


Dianella intermedia Endl. var norfolkensis F.B.H.Brown


Endemic. North and South Islands


coastal to montane (rarely subalpine) (1-1100 m a.s.l.). Colonising a wide variety of habitats from open coastal headlands, gumland scrub and less frequently peat bogs through to dense forest and subalpine scrub.


Loose tussock forming evergreen perennial herb, forming dense to open, diffuse clumps; rhizomes horizontally 150 mm (or more) long, strong and well developed. Leaves 250-800 x 12-18 mm, uniformly green to dark green, with distinct dark marginal bands 2-4 mm wide, discolorous, upright to strongly curved and distinctly drooping, more or less flat, lamina smooth and more or less glossy; margin and midrib of the leaf undersides smooth to scabrid, teeth often prominent; apex acute, leaf sheaths equitant, tightly clasping, surface light green to dark green with a reddish margin; apex acute to subacute. Inflorescence erect to spreading, up to 1 m long, exserted above the leaves; scape slender, arching, base asymmetric and up to 100 x 75 mm diameter; panicle 300-500 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 3-7-flowered; pedicels 10-17 mm long, slightly recurved, terete; bracteoles 1.0-1.2 x c.0.2 mm, narrow triangular, subtending pedicels caducous. Flowers nodding, 9-11 mm diameter, opening early morning, collapsing late afternoon, perianth segments strongly recurved at anthesis; sepals 4.4-4.5 x 1.6-1.7 mm, oblong, undersides olive-green flushed red-brown, upper surface paler, apex obtuse; petals 3.5-4.0 x 2.3-3.4 mm, obovate, white, midvein olive-green, apex obtuse to retuse; filaments 6, 1.3-1.4 mm long, white; anthers 1.3-1.4 x c.0.4 mm, yellow-brown, struma 1.2-1.4 x c.0.6 mm, obovate, yellow, minutely papillose; ovary 1.4-1.6 x 1.1-1.3 mm, green, more or less globular; style 1.7-2.1 mm long, white. Berry 8-20 x 7-10 mm, ovoid to oblong, grey-white and dull to strongly violet-blue and glossy, pericarp spongy. Seeds 1.8-2.1 x 2.3-3.0 mm, ovoid, black, shiny.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from D. haematica Heenan et de Lange and D. latissima Heenan et de Lange by open, loosely tussock forming habit, with dense to loose clumps, horizontally spreading rhizomes up to 150 mm long (sometimes more); light green to green leaf sheaths with reddish margins; green to dark green with darker marginal bands, curved, distinctly drooping leaves up to 0.8 m long and 18 mm wide with smooth or prominently scabrid leaf margins, acute leaf apex; inflorescences exposed from leaves, obovate (1.2-1.4 mm long) struma; and by the styles which are 1.7-2.1 mm long cf 1.4-1.5 mm long in D. latissima and 2.0-2.2 mm long in D. nigra. Dianella nigra may grow in wetlands


November - December

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from the division of whole plants and from fresh seed. Often available from garden centres though one populare form sold erroneously as D. intermedia is not that species or it would seem D. nigra s.s. Its exact status requires further investigation.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 16

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

References and further reading

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 15 Aug 2014