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Dracaena Vand. ex Linn.


Description from Flora of China

Pleomele Salisbury.

Plants treelike, shrubby, or subshrubby. Stems simple or branched, ± woody. Leaves crowded toward apex of stems or spaced along distal part of stems, sessile or petiolate; petiole to 8 cm, base amplexicaul; leaf blade usually sword-shaped to elliptic-lanceolate, veins truly parallel from base, lateral veins absent. Inflorescence terminal, branched, rarely simple. Flowers bisexual, clustered, sometimes solitary; pedicel articulate. Perianth cylindric, campanulate, or funnelform; tube short; lobes 6, similar. Stamens 6, inserted in tube or throat of perianth; anthers versatile. Ovary 3-loculed; ovules 1 or 2 per locule. Style slender; stigma capitate or 3-lobed. Fruit a berry, globose, 1--3-seeded. Seeds not coated with phytomelanin.

Dracaena, as treated in Dracaenaceae by Bos (in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 3: 240. 1998), includes the genus Sansevieria Thunberg from Africa to S Asia. If this arrangement is accepted, Dracaena probably comprises from 100--150 species. Dracaena in Asia has been studied very little for several decades. Consequently there are many taxononomic and nomenclatural problems and large numbers of unidentified specimens in herbaria. The present account attempts to identify some of the problems affecting the Chinese species, which can only be properly understood in the context of an in-depth study on the genus throughout tropical Asia.

About 50 species: mainly in tropical regions of Africa and Asia; six species in China.

(Authors: Chen Xinqi (陈心启 Chen Sing-chi); Nicholas J. Turland)

Lower Taxa


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