Sunday, March 20, 2016

Dracaena Fragrans (Corn Plant)

Dracaena fragrans or corn plant is one of the more than 100 species of the genus dracaena that is grown as an ornamental plant. The original dracaena fragrans has solid green leaves. There are cultivars with variegated leaves. The dracaena ‘massangeana’, the most common, has a yellow stripe that runs through the center of each and every leaf.  Another variety, the dracaena fragrans ‘lendinii’, has yellow stripes that are on the margins of the leaves rather than in the center. The plant has a long and narrow leaf and clustered small pale yellow flowers that turn white in full bloom. The plant grows like a sugar cane or a palm in a sense that older leaves come off leaving the trunk bottom smooth. Unlike a palm the upper trunk of the corn plant will branch off. However, the branches that develop are scanty.

Growing outdoors, the plant will flower. But dracaena fragrans is only a seasonal bloomer. In a tropical area, it only flowers once a year especially in the month of March. Its small clustered pale yellow flowers are not attractive enough to look at. Their redeeming characteristic is their scent. In the evening the flowers emit fragrance that radiate through its vicinity. In the house it creates a sweet smelling ambiance. This fragrance can be smelled only in the evening and early dawn. The scent is less intense during the day so that the flowers seem odorless during that period.                                                                                                                           

 A good thing about this plant is that it can naturally remove toxic gasses in the air such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene especially if it is planted on pots and is placed indoors. The NASA Clean Air Study listed Draecena as one of the 15 plants that can improve indoor air quality. In an indoor environment the plant rarely flowers. It can be propagated through its cuttings.