There have been so many wild flowers in the Reserve this season, probably on the back of very good rain during autumn and winter and a warmer spring than usual. These ones – the liles – are tufted perennial herbs, supported by thickened roots, either tubers or rhizomes.
They flower for a relatively short while during spring here in the Reserve.
They are all insect (bee) pollinated, in blues, yellows, and purples. The blue-flowering Tall Sun-orchids take advantage of the lilies’ season, attracting the same pollinators because of their appearance but without the reward.
Pale Grass-lily (Caesia parviflora ssp. parviflora)
Our slashing this year has been later than usual, which has given daylilies like the Pale Grass-lily a chance to flower in swathes, particularly in the open grassy areas of the Reserve. These have white flowers, with bright yellow stigmas on each stamen, and each flower is evenly placed along the stem.
Once they’ve finished flowering, the tepals of each flower twist together.
Flax-liles (Daniella species)
There were a few forms flowering this year with their sprays of starry blue flowers and flashes of yellow.There are quite a few recorded species of this lily in Australia, although further clarification is in progress. They all have six tepals and each one has between three and seven veins. They also share stamens in two parts – a yellow coloured struma at the base of the stamen and anthers of different colours. They have purplish-blue berries which are eaten by birds and lizards.
These daylilies flower for only one day (although the Tasman Flax-lily, Dianella tasmanica, can flower for two.)
There are differences in their leaves, their tufting habit and their flowering which can help determine which species is which. There is one species, as yet unnamed, in the Reserve which has morphological similarities to a species found only in the Blue Mountains (K.Muscat, pers. comm.), which has blue anthers.
Tufted Blue lily (Thelionema caespitosum)
These lilies are a beautiful blue with bright yellow stamens and the anthers coil after releasing their pollen. Their leaves are linear-shaped and occur in two rows on opposite sides of the stem, closely folded at the base.
Chocolate lily (Arthropodium strictum) and Tuber Fringe lily (Thysanotus tuberosus ssp. tuberosus)
Both lilies stand out with their purple flowers above the grass. While the common Fringe lily has a fringe around each petal, the Chocolate lily’s have undulating margins. While the Tuber Fringe lily is still flowering, the Chocolate lily flowered only for a short time and only in the southern section this season.
Sources and further resources
Mayfield, E. (2010) Flora of the Otway Plain and Ranges 1. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.
PlantNET Flora Online – for information on the Dianella species, see http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=gn&name=Dianella