This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(club-like, referring to the fleshy roots). Lilidceae. Dracena. Dracena Palm. Greenhouse plants closely related to Dracaena; planted in the open in California and similar climates.
Stems tall, often woody and palm-like, bearing large crowded leaves, to the striking variegation of which the group owes its value: flowers panicled; stamens 6; pedicels articulated; perianth 6-parted; ovary 3-celled: fruit a berry. - Cult, for the ornamental foliage. The horticultural forms and names have become very numerous. The various species are in the trade under Dracaena, which see for a key to the species of both genera combined. From Dracaena, Cordyline differs in the ovary containing several ovules in each cell, and the solitary pedicels being provided with a 3-bracted involucre. In the following paragraphs, the initial D. indicates that the plant in question is known in the trade as a Dracaena, and C. that it is known as a Cordyline (see Dracaena). For a monograph, see Baker, Journ. Linn. Soc. 14:538 (1875).
Of cordylines or dracaenas, propagation is usually effected by cutting the ripened stems or trunks, from which all leaves have been removed, into pieces from 2 to 4 inches long. These are laid either in very light soil or in sand in the propagating-bed, where they receive a bottom heat of about 80°, being barely covered with sand or moss (Fig. 1052). The eyes soon start into growth, and, as soon as they have developed about six leaves, these shoots are cut off with a small heel and again placed in the propagating-bed until rooted, after which they are potted off into small pots in light soil, kept close until they become established. They are then shifted on into larger pots as soon as well rooted. They delight in a mixture of three parts good turfy loam and one part well-decayed cow-manure, with a liberal sprinkling of sharp sand. A warm, moist atmosphere suits them best while growing, but towards fall the finished plants must be gradually exposed to full sunshine and a dry atmosphere, which develops their high colors.
The kinds enumerated below are such as are mainly grown in large quantities for decorative purposes, and are sold principally during the winter months, especially during the holiday season, when plants with bright-colored foliage are always in strong demand: C. amabilis. - A strong-growing, form with broad green foliage, which is prettily variegated with white and deep rose. One of the hardiest varieties, either for decorations in winter or for outdoor work, vases, and the like in summer. D.fragrans. - An African species with broad, massive, deep green foliage which makes noble decorative plants, being frequently grown into specimens from 6 to 8 feet high. Its foliage is of heavy texture, making it a useful plant for the dry atmosphere of a living-room. Two handsomely variegated forms of the above are D. Lindenii and D. Mas-sangeana, both very desirable varieties. C. terminalis. - This is the most popular species, and is grown in immense quantities. The foliage on well-matured plants is of an intense rich crimson marked with lighter shadings. C. australis (commonly called C. indivisa). - Used principally as an outdoor decorative plant in summer, being extensively used for furnishing vases, window-boxes, and the like.
It succeeds best when planted out in the open border during summer, potted in the fall and stored during winter in a cool greenhouse. It is propagated almost exclusively from seed, which germinates freely if sown during the early spring months in sandy soil, in a temperature of 60° to 65°, growing them on during the first season in small pots. These, if planted in the open border the second season, make fine plants for 6- or 7-inch pots. There are a number of varieties of C. australis, among them several handsomely variegated bronze-colored forms, which, however, are but little distributed yet. Among the principal varieties and species besides the above which are grown in a commercial way are: Baptistii, Shepherdii, stricta grandis, Youngii, Goldieana, Lord Wolseley, De-Smetiana, Sanderiana, Godseffiana, and Mandseana. (J. D. Eisele.)
Fig. 1052. Stem-cutting of Cordyline.
a. Foliage of sessile, thick, sword-shaped Ivs. b. Leaves glaucous beneath, broad.
Arborescent, 10-20 ft. high: leaves dark green, densely crowded, 2-6 ft. long, 4-6 in. broad at the middle, 1 1/2-2 in. at the base, rigid, very coriaceous; midrib stout, colored red and white, veins on each side of it 40-50: panicle nodding; bracteoles lanceolate, 3-4 lines long, membranous; perianth 3-4 lines long, white; tube very short, campanulate; segments equal, sharply recurved: berries 1/4in. diam., blue; ovules 5-6 in each cell. New Zeal. Gn. 49, p. 86. Lowe, 52. - Coolhouse; valuable for vases. Rare in cultivation See C.
bb. Leaves green on both sides, narrower.
(D. congesta, Hort.). Slender, 6-12 ft. high: leaves less crowded than in the next, acuminate, 1-2 ft. long, 9-15 lines wide, base 3-6 lines wide, scarcely costate; veins scarcely oblique, margins obscurely dentate: panicle terminal and lateral, erect or cernuous; pedicels 1/2-l fine long; lower bracteoles lanceolate; perianth lilac, 3-4 fines long, campanulate, interior segments longer than the outer; ovules 6-10 in each cell. Austral. B.M. 2575. G.C. III. 17:207 -Coolhouse, vases, and the like. variety grandis, Hort. Large, highly colored. variety discolor, Hort. Like variety grandis, but with foliage dark bronzy purple.