A plant for a lifetime

Dracaena is derived from the Greek "drakaina", meaning a female dragon. The reason these plants were originally given this name has to do with the fact that the sap of a number of Dracaena varieties such as D. cinnabarii and D. draco, is red. In ancient times this was thought to be dragon?s blood, lost in their battle with the elephants. Dragon?s blood used to be a well-known medical remedy and was also used as a dye (cinnabar). The real "Dragon tree" dragon?s blood tree (D. draco) is a native of the Canary Islands and is a bizarre tree, strongly branched with huge clumps of green leaves. Visitors to Tenerife can admire a number of huge examples, some more than 15 metres tall. The tallest D. drago is in Icod.

The first Dracaenas were imported to Western Europe in the 17th century. Interest for Dracaena as a houseplant only dates from the past few decades, when a huge number of varieties were discovered in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia and subsequently cultivated.