Dracaena is a romanized version of the Ancient Greek drakaina-drakaina, which means "female dragon." The vast majority of the species are found in Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australia, with only two species found in tropical Central America.
The most common type of dracaena is called Dragon Tree or Devil's Ivy. It has thick, spiky, red to blackish berries that contain toxic chemicals that kill animals that eat them. Animals that do not die but suffer severe internal injuries from eating these berries will usually collapse later due to blood poisoning caused by the bacteria growing in the nooks and crannies of their teeth and claws.
Another type of dracaena is called Indian Dragon. It has yellow flowers followed by orange fruits with razor-sharp edges. The fruits are poisonous but not lethal if eaten.
Dragon trees provide food for many animals, including monkeys, birds, and insects. Their thick branches and vines allow them to climb over other plants and trees for sunlight while also providing protection from wind and rain.
In culture, dragons have been used as symbols for power, wisdom, immortality, and evil since at least 400 BC. They appear in many different cultures across time and space. In mythology, dragons are often gods' creatures that serve them loyally until betrayed or beaten.
Scientific names for Dracaena dracaena are English common name: Dragon tree. The plant is an evergreen, spreading by means of underground rhizomes or tubers, and reaching a height of up to 20 feet (6 m). It has large glossy green leaves that turn red in autumn, with a central vein and several small glands near the base. There are two varieties of D. dracaena: var. Dracaena has scaly bark that becomes grayish-white when exposed to air, while var. Omeiana has smooth bark that remains green even after it has been cut down.
English common names for other species in this genus include: Indian dragon, Madagascar dragon, New Zealand mountain cedar, Pacific dragon, prickly dragon, sea dragon, and velvet dragon. They are all deciduous trees, with oval-shaped, pointed, bristly leaves and reddish-orange flowers followed by round black fruit.
Drakensberg dragons are high altitude plants that can grow in thin soil with little water. They are classified as a subspecies of D. dracaena (D. d. angustifolia), which is found only in South Africa.
Dracaena is a genus of roughly 40 adaptable, low-maintenance plants with unique, strappy leaves. These tough plants bear cuts well, and you may prune a dracaena to whatever height you want. In the fall, discard dead leaves from your dracaena.
When you do, look for diseases or other problems that might have been hidden by the foliage. The soil under the dracaena should be rich and loose so it can breathe. If you find any weeds growing there, remove them immediately. That way, you won't encourage more weeds in your garden and you'll help ensure a long life for your plant.
Once you've done this, water the sapling thoroughly, and then wait 3 months before cutting it again. If you don't, you may not get another bloom season out of your dracaena.
The first few years after you buy a new plant are important because they determine how large it will become. After that, just give it plenty of room to grow and let it take over the space it wants. Eventually, it will cover the fence or trellis it grew on, and you can stop watering it if you don't have a dry spell.
However, if you keep cutting it back, the plant will remain small even though it hasn't reached the fence yet.
In subtropical climes, the dracaena plant is a popular decorative houseplant that can be cultivated both inside and outdoors. Dracaena's striking foliage with brilliant color patterns not only makes a superb focal point in any area, but it may also aid improve air quality. The plant has large drooping leaves that remove moisture from the atmosphere when it rains or dews, removing up to 50 gallons of water per year from the air around it.
Indoor plants need regular watering during dry periods and should be watered regularly if they are exposed to temperatures below 40F (4C). If you live in a cold climate, don't let your dracaena go without water for more than two weeks; it will suffer damage to its roots. Potted plants should be protected from freezing temperatures.
Dracaena are very tolerant of low light levels so they're perfect for apartments or other limited-space gardening situations. They also prefer slightly acidic soil that's high in phosphorus and magnesium, so add some wood ash or leaf mold to your garden plot every few years for extra nutrients.
When selecting a dracaena for purchase, look for healthy plants that aren't too big or small. Avoid plants that have been cut back too severely; this shows that they weren't taken care of properly, which could lead to declining health over time.
Cordyline plants, sometimes known as ti plants and frequently mislabeled as dracaena, belong to its own genus. They make wonderful houseplants, and with some cordyline care knowledge, you can easily grow them near a bright, warm window. Most have glossy green leaves and red, pink, or white flowers.
The name "cordyline" comes from the Latin word for snail, which grows along with these plants. When the starchy roots of a cordyline plant are eaten, the resulting starch is very similar in quality to that of potatoes. That's why these plants were often used by Native Americans as a source of food and fuel. They also made good fences because when cut down they would resprout from the stump!
Today, most cordylines are grown for their attractive foliage rather than their flowering heads. They do best in well-lit but not direct sunlight locations, and some varieties will tolerate lower temperatures if you live in a cold climate. They're easy to grow and require regular water during dry periods. If your plants start looking leggy (tall without wide at the base) then feed them every other week until they regrow. Then stop feeding them and leave them alone for a couple of months before checking back on them.
Cordylines are hardy plants that like lean soil with plenty of organic matter added.
Some Dracaena species contain a secondary thickening meristem in their trunk, which some writers refer to as Dracaenoid thickening, which is distinct from the thickening meristem seen in dicotyledonous plants. This trait is shared by members of the Agavoideae and Xanthorrhoeoideae, as well as other Asparagales members. These species often have stiff, spiny branches that are armed with sharp thorns. Some authors include these species within the Dracaenaceae family.
Other species of Dracaena do not contain this type of meristem. They are called monocarpic because they only live for one season before dying. After flowering, the plant produces an ovary that eventually becomes a fruit. When the fruit falls off the parent plant, it exposes a new shoot that will bloom the following year. Thus, monocarpic Dracaena reproduce continuously but never grow older than one season.
Finally, some species of Dracaena are polycarpic. This means that they can live for more than one season. Most polycarpic species are found in tropical climates where winter temperatures are not a concern. When these plants are cut back to ground level after flowering, multiple shoots will form from the root system that will produce more flowers and fruits over several seasons.
These are just some examples of how different species within the genus Dracaena reproduce. There are over 100 species of Dracaena worldwide, most of them endemic to particular regions.