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Dracaena cantleyi


Dracaena cantleyi Baker

Family Name: Asparagaceae
Synonyms: Dracaena aurantiaca (Baker) Wall. ex Hook.f., Dracaena marmorata Baker, Dracaena spicata Baker var. aurantiaca, Pleomele aurantiaca (Baker) N.E.Br., Pleomele cantleyi (Baker) N.E.Br., Pleomele marmorata (Baker) N.E.Br.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Borneo.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tall, little or unbranched tree, up to 4 m tall. It can be easily identified from the purple or purplish-green leaves with light green circular patches.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked, leaves have leathery leaf blades that are oval to lance-shaped or egg-shaped, green with a purplish tinge and light green circular patches, and 30–90 by 10–13 cm.
Flowers Its flowers are 2.5 cm long, purple outside, white inside, and arranged in loose clusters of 3–4.
Fruit Its fruits are about 2.5 cm and orange when ripe.
Habitat It grows in damp to wet open areas of forest edges and freshwater swamps. It occurs locally in Mandai Forest and Nee Soon Swamp Forest.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated while its fruits and seeds are probably eaten and dispersed by birds or mammals.
Etymology Greek dracaena, a dragon, referring to the bright red dried red resin, called dragon’s blood, obtained from various species including those of Dracaena; cantleyi, commemorating Nathaniel Cantley, the former curator of the Singapore Botanic Gardens (1880–1886)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Semi-Hardwood)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Purple
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green, Purple
Young Flush Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Elliptical)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Attenuate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Orange
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 31182
Species ID 5576
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.