Dracaena – Pleomele –
There are about 40 species of sparsely branched, perennial herbs, evergreen shrubs and trees, in this genus. They occur from forest, scrub, and dry open slopes. In the Canary Islands, and throughout tropical Africa, but mainly in Western Africa, with one species in South America. These striking architectural plants produce usually lance to sword to strap shaped, leathery, glossy leaves often variegates which are spirally arranged and often crowded at the stem tips. Small flowers, with tubular bases and 6 spreading tepals, are borne in terminal panicles, followed by red or yellow berries. Grow as specimen plants or in a border. Where not hardy, grow in a warm or temperate greenhouse, or as a houseplant.
Indoors. Grow in soil based potting mix in full light with shade from hot sun and moderate humidity. Green leaves plants tolerate slightly lower light levels. From spring to autumn, water freely, applying a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, water sparingly in winter.
D. concinna – This compact shrub from Mauritius grows 6′ fee4t tall. From purple tinged stems it carries leaves up to 3′ feet long and 3″ wide, which are dull green with purple edges. It is often sold as D. marginata.
D. deremensis – D. d. ‘Souvenir de Schrijver – D. d. ‘Warneckei’ – From tropical Eastern Asia, this hardy shrub grows to 15′ feet tall and 6′ feet wide. It produces terminal rosettes of dark green leaves, 27″ long and 2″ wide, are accompanied by sprays of dark red flowers
‘Longii’ - has leaves with a broad central stripe
‘Warneckei’ - are greenish with a bright green edging.
D. draco – Dragon’s-blood Tree – Dragon Tree - This slow growing, multi stemmed, long lived, eventually widely branched tree, resembles an inside-out umbrella in outline when mature. Tufted or rosettes, glaucous, mid to dark green leaves, 12-24″ long and 2″ wide, are stiff linear-lance shaped and spine tipped.. Mature plants produce insignificant terminal panicles, to 12″ long, of white-tinged green flowers in summer, followed by large, spherical, orange-red fruit. Very suitable for containers.
D. fragrans – Corn Plant – Happy Plant - This erect, evergreen shrub or small tree, from Africa grows 15-50′ feet tall and 3-10′ feet wide. It is very sparsely branched when young, with spreading to strongly arching, inversely lance shaped, keeled, glossy, mid green leaves, 8-48″ long and 4″ wide, confined to upper parts of the stems. When mature, it bears strongly scented, ½” wide, yellow flowers, in erect to arching, branched or unbranched terminal panicles, to 20″ long in summer, followed by spherical orange-red fruit.
Lindenii – has yellow leaves with a central strip and edges of bright green
‘Massangeana’ – grows 25-50′ feet tall and has recurved, dull green leaves, 8-24″ long, with grayish green streaks and a broad, longitudinal, yellow-green band, interspersed with narrow, gray-green stripes. Small cream flowers are very fragrant and are followed by orange-red berries.
‘Vicoriae’ - has wide, drooping, bright green leaves with a silver central streak and yellow edges.
D. goldieana - This Western and Central African species grow to little more than 2′ feet tall. It produces dark green leaves, 8″ long and about 5″ wide and taper to a distinct leaf stalk and have silvery blotches and a yellowish midrib. It bears cluster of small white flowers.
D. hookeriana – This erect shrub from South Africa grows 6′ feet tall and in only occasionally branched, it foliage clusters towards the tops of the stems. The leaves are up to 30″ long, spreading to recurved with a white translucent edges. It’s tiny flowers are white followed by orange-red berries.
D. marginata - This erect, slow growing shrub or small tree from Madagascar grows 6-20′ feet tall and 3-10′ feet wide. It is often unbranched at first, then branching and spreading. Spreading linear-lance shaped, sword like recurved, red edged, dark green leaves, 12-24″ long, are densely borne on upper parts of the stems. Mature plants produce terminal panicles, 16-20″ across, of white flowers in summer, followed by yellow berries.
‘Tricolor’ – has leaves with cream marginal stripes shaded red.
D. reflexa - This tropical African native, is a shrub or tree, 8-20′ feet tall with a tangle of wiry stems and lance shaped, dark green leaves under 10″ long. The spring flowers are cr3eam and sweet smelling at night when they open. Fruits are bright red berries borne in early summer.
Subsp. usambarensis – D. usambarensis – is more robust species
Subsp. nitens – is from Mozambique
‘Song of India’ - is the variegate cultivar normally grown, with broad creamy white edges.
D. sanderiana – Ribbon Plant – Belgian Evergreen - This slender, erect shrub from Cameroon grows 5′ feet tall and 16-32″ Wide. It produces cane like stems that branch sparingly to moderately from the base. Arching., slightly wavy, lance shaped, glossy, rich green leaves, 6-10″ long, tapering to false stalks, have bold longitudinal, silvery white stripes. Not known to flower in cultivation.
D. surculosa – Gold-dust D. – Spotted D. - This woody branching shrub from tropical Western Africa grows 3-12′ feet tall and has white flowers. It features high, slender sword like leaves, 2-8″ long and 3/4-2 ½” wide which are dark green with white or yellow dots and blotches.
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