Stately Dracena multiflora

Dracena multiflora Warb. ex P. Sarasin & Sarasin is known by different common names like false yucca, flowering yucca, yucca,flowering green dragon among others.

This species is found in Melanesia, Caroline islands, Palau, Celebes, Sulawesi and the Philippines. This is found in limestone cliffs in many parts of the country. It is one of the native plants found in many provinces like Batanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Nueva Ecija, Polilio islands, Quezon, Mindoro, Palawan, Ticao, Masbate, Sorsogon, Samar, Leyte, Sulu Archipelago among other areas.

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Dracena multilfora growing on an outdoor garden with mounted orchids within a gated subdivision in Novaliches, Quezon City

Specimen sized plants looked stately and serves as focal point in many houses with large manicured garden.

Dracaena L., a member of the family Ruscaceae, was first founded by Sprengei in 1826.

Genus Dracena

The genus name “Dracena” is derived from the Greek word “drakaina“, which means “dragon” referring to the sap or juice of the stems which resembles blood.

Dracaena means Dragon Goddess or a female Dragon. The first named species, Dracaena draco has been used as a medicinal plant in Europe and China. The species is also the symbol of Canary Islands.

This had 120 species which is mostly found in the old world with dozens of hybrids and cultivar varieties.  Some of the popular indoor plants are found in this genus and grown extensively in many parts of the world were Dracaena fragrans, D. goldiana, D. surculosa, D. sanderiana and D. ellenbeckiana have variegated forms used as indoor plants.

Sanseviera is a historically recognized genus of flowering plants, native to Africa, Madagascar and parts of southern Asia on the basis of molecular studies were officially included as part of the genus just about two decades ago, but it is only few years ago that horticulturist began reclassifying the genus.

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Economic Uses

Dracena multiflora is fairy popular in horticultural, ornamental plant industry where this plant was planted in large estate, focal point in landscape, big terracotta pots, subdivision, parks and schools. Some old plants can be spotted growing in Ayala -Alabang in Muntinlupa, BF Homes Parañaque,Greenhills in San Juan,Forbes Park, Urdaneta Village, Bel-Air, Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, Batasan Hills, Corinthian Garden, White Plains, La Vista, Teacher’s Village, Project 6, 7 and 8, Kingspoint Subdivision within Novaliches, Quezon City among others.

This became popular in the late 1960’s, mid- 1970’s, early 1980’s, mid-1990’s and few years ago. This plant can grow as tall as 5 to 6 meters if not disturbed.

Some backyard hobbyist would mount ferns, orchids, hoyas, dischidias and tillandsia on mature stems of the plant. Which add beauty to the bare stems.

This species had naturalized in many parts of tropical Asia, Latin America, Australia and the United States.

Small Dracena multiflora would cost between Php 350 to as much as Php 600 in some garden centers in Metro Manila, While bigger ones would cost a few thousand bucks depending on the height and growth.

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Dracena multiflora in bloom within Holy Child Academy Kindergarten section in Katipunan Avenue corner King Ferdinand street, Kingspoint Subdivision, Barangay Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City

Superstitious Beliefs

A homeowner from Greenhills, San Juan believe that whenever the plant bloom, There will be a distant relative who will get marry. Another grower from Novaliches told the author that dwarfs would come and play whenever the plant is in bloom.

Another old time grower from Quezon City also believe that having Dracena multiflora planted in front of their house attracts positive vibe or chi.

This plant came into limelight when Tiyang Amy or Ms. Amy Perez in her youtube recounted saving her yucca plant from the monsoon rains.

Propagation

The fastest way to propagate this plant is via stem cuttings or by seeds.

Care and Fertilization

For newly planted stem cuttings, part shade is recommended and moving gradually to higher intensity light is recommended.

Keep them hydrated by misting the leaves with water and keeping the soil lightly misted (never soggy) as well with good drainage. Always allow the top soil to dry out before watering. Do not over water.

One can start pruning the older stems just before on the onset of the rainy season to encourage branching.

Apply minimum amount of water soluble balance fertilizer 20N-20P-20K every other week, trace elements and organic fertilizer during growing season which also coincide with the rainy season.

20% loose soil, 60% loam soil and 10% organic compost, combination of 10% coco choir, aged cow dung and rice hull for the mixture.

References, Sources and Bibliographies

Personal communication among local growers and landscapers.

Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines

Dracaena multiflora Warb. ex Sarasin Reisen, Sulawesi 1 (1905) 136; –Pleomele multiflora (Warb.) Merr., EPFP 1 (1922) 205. Philippines, Sulawesi. BATANES, LUZON: Nueva Ecija, Quezon, POLILLO, MINDORO, PALAWAN, TICAO, MASBATE, SULU ARCHIPELAGO. Chiefly on coastal limestone formations.

Lu, Pei-Luen & Morden, Clifford W. (2014), “Phylogenetic Relationships among Dracaenoid Genera (Asparagaceae: Nolinoideae) Inferred from Chloroplast DNA Loci”, Systematic Botany, 39 (1): 90–104

Madulid, Domingo; Winner, National Book Award, Science, 1995. Revised Edition, 2000 with 388 pages. AGAVACEAE: Page 49, Bookmark, Makati, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants.

Philip, D; Kaleena, PK; Valivittan, K & Girish Kumar, CP (2011), “Phytochemical Screening and Antimicrobial Activity of Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult. and Schult. F.”, Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 10 (4): 512–8

Dracena multiflora: http://www.phytoimages.siu.edu/imgs/pelserpb/r/Ruscaceae_Dracaena_multiflora

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Shaw, JMH. 2011. Miscellaneous nomenclatural and taxonomic notes mainly relating to cultivated plants. Hanburyana 5: 47-56. [Disporopsis]

Takawira-Nyenya, R, L Mucina, WM Cardinal-McTeague & KR Thiele. 2018. Sansevieria (Asparagaceae, Nolinoideae) is a herbaceous clade within Dracaena: inference from non-coding plastid and nuclear DNA sequence data. Phytotaxa 376: 254-276.

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