I recently blogged about a radish variety called Dragon, and that got me thinking about other plants that might be identified with our favorite mythical beasts. In fact, there is one very common “dragon plant” displayed in homes and offices all over the world.
Dracaena is actually a plant family composed of desert succulents and shrubs. Their name comes from Greek drakaina, a female dragon. Botanists have had some confusion about how dracaenas are related to other plants, but the current conclusion is that they are members of the Asparagus family. There are 40 species in this group, most originating in Africa.
The best known is D. marginata, which appears like a palm tree with a narrow trunk and thin, stiff, straight leaves. The basic dragon plant has dark green leaves, although cultivated varieties have stripes of red or lighter green. Dragon plants can be grown singly in pots, in clusters of two or three, or even tied together or braided to help support each other.
This is a hardy plant that can take a bit of neglect. It’s fine if you forget to water for a few days, because they are adapted to arid conditions. Don’t let them stand in water, however. They grow slowly, so don’t have to be re-potted very often. The only real maintenance is to trim off dead leaves and keep it looking tidy.
As you can probably tell, I love dragon plants. I would have them all over my house, except that I also have two cats who insist on mowing down any plant with skinny leaves. I love my cats, too. Thus, I am not able to have dragon plants at home. If I ever get an office of my own, you can bet there will be dragon plants in it.