Dracaena (plant)

Dracaena (plant)

Dracaena draco
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Dracaena
Vand. ex L.[1]

Terminalis Medik.[1]

"Lucky bamboo", Dracaena braunii
Dracaena flower.
Gold Dust Dracaena, Dracaena surculosa

Dracaena (,[2] derived from the romanized form of the Ancient Greek δράκαιναdrakaina, "female dragon"), is a genus of about 40 species of trees and succulent shrubs. In the APG III classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae (formerly the family Ruscaceae).[3] It has also formerly been separated (sometimes with Cordyline) into the family Dracaenaceae or placed in the Agavaceae (now Agavoideae). The majority of the species are native to 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.


  • Description 1
  • Species 2
    • Formerly placed here 2.1
  • Uses 3
    • Ornamental 3.1
    • Other uses 3.2
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • General references 4.2
  • External links 5


Species of Dracaena have a secondary thickening meristem in their trunk, which is quite different from the thickening meristem found in dicotyledonous plants and is termed dracaenoid thickening by some authors. This characteristic is shared with members of the Agavoideae and Xanthorrhoeoideae among other members of the Asparagales.

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.


There are around 110 species of Dracaena, including:[4]

Formerly placed here



Some shrubby species, such as D. deremensis, D. fragrans, D. godseffiana, D. marginata, and D. braunii, 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. braunii are widely marketed in the U.S.A. and the UK as "lucky bamboo", although only superficially resembling true bamboos.

Other uses

A bright red resin, dragon's blood, is produced from D. draco and, in ancient times, from D. cinnabari. Modern dragon's blood is however more likely to be from the unrelated Daemonorops rattan palms.



  1. ^ a b Vand. ex L."Dracaena"Genus: . Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. pp. 606–607.  
  3. ^ Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009). "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 132–136.  
  4. ^ Search for "Dracaena", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families,  
  5. ^ Paul Wilkin, Piyakaset Suksathan, Kaweesak Keeratikiat, Peter van Welzen & Justyna Wiland-Szymanska (2013). "A new species from Thailand and Burma, Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan (Asparagaceae subfamily Nolinoideae)".  
  6. ^ a b "Dracaena"GRIN Species Records of . Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  7. ^ Dracaena names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database.

General references

  • Waterhouse, J. T. (1987). "The phylogenetic significance of Dracaena-type growth".  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Dracaena at Wikispecies
  • Socotra botany. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.