From The Plant Encyclopedia
17 - 20
- Cultivation: Easy-To-Grow
- Light: Sun
- Soil: Rich
- pH: 7
- Moisture: Medium
- Form: Tree, Shrub
- Habit: Evergreen
- Foliage: Leaves
- Uses: Medicinal, Ornamental, Houseplant
Dracaena romanized form of the Ancient Greek - drakaina, "female dragon") is a genus of about 40 species of Trees and succulent Shrubs classified in the family Ruscaceae in the APG II system, or, according to some treatments, separated (sometimes with Cordyline) into a family of their own, Dracaenaceae or in the Agavaceae. The majority of the species are native in Africa, with a few in southern Asia and one in tropical Central America. The segregate genus Pleomele is now generally included in Dracaena. The genus Sanseviera is closely related, and has recently been synonymized under Dracaena in the Kubitzki system.
Dracaena have a secondary thickening Meristem in their trunk. This Monocotyledonous secondary thickening meristem is quite different from the thickening meristem found in Dicotyledonous plants and is termed Dracaenoid thickening by some authors. This character is shared with other members of the Agavaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae among other related families.
D. americana, D. arborea, D. cinnabari, D. draco, D. ombet, and D. tamaranae are commonly known as dragon trees and grow in arid semi-Desert areas. They are tree-sized with stout trunks and stiff, broad-based leaves. The remaining species are known collectively as shrubby dracaenas. They are smaller and shrub-like, with slender stems and flexible strap-shaped leaves, and grow as understorey plants in Rainforests.
Some shrubby species, such as D. deremensis, D. fragrans, D. godseffiana, D. marginata, and D. sanderiana, are popular as Houseplants. Many of these are toxic to pets, though not humans, according to the ASPCA among others. Rooted stem cuttings of D. sanderiana are widely marketed in the U.S.A. as "Lucky Bamboo", although only superficially resembling true Bamboos.
A bright red resin, Dragon's blood, is produced from D. draco and, in ancient times, from D. cinnabari. It was used in the past as medicine. Modern dragon's blood is however more likely to be from the unrelated Daemonorops rattan palms.
- Waterhouse, J. T. (1987). "The Phylogenetic Significance of Dracaena-type growth". Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 109: 129–128.
- Socotra botany. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.