dra·​cae·​na drə-ˈsē-nə How to pronounce dracaena (audio)
: any of two genera (Dracaena and Cordyline) of chiefly Old World tropical shrubs or trees that have sword-shaped leaves spirally arranged and often clustered at the ends of branches and include some used as houseplants

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Any of about 50–80 species of ornamental foliage plants in the agave family, the dracaena is native primarily to the Old World tropics. Most have short stalks and narrow, sword-shaped leaves; some have taller stalks and resemble trees. The small flowers are red, yellow, or green. Two species are often grown as houseplants. The ornamental dragon tree of the Canary Islands bears orange fruit. Its trunk contains a red gum, called dragon’s blood, which was formerly used in medicines.

Examples of dracaena in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These and other large architectural indoor plants such as strelitzia, monstera, dracaena, and many palm species look equally impressive on decks, balconies, and patios. Marianne Willburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Sep. 2023 Indoor plants like dracaena, peace lilies, and common ivy are thought to be good at helping to clean indoor air. Aurora Sousanis, Detroit Free Press, 28 June 2023 One such plant is the trendy dracaena, which has been popping up everywhere and looks just as cool in any space. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, 22 Oct. 2019 As concentrations of fluoride build up in the tips of dracaena leaves, the plant cells die, leaving brown tips. Willi Evans Galloway, Good Housekeeping, 20 Aug. 2018 For dracaenas, very small concentrations of fluoride can be phytotoxic, meaning that the fluoride can kill plant cells. Willi Evans Galloway, Good Housekeeping, 20 Aug. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dracaena.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Late Latin, she-serpent, from Greek drakaina, feminine of drakōn serpent — more at dragon

First Known Use

circa 1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dracaena was circa 1823

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Cite this Entry

“Dracaena.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dracaena. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


dra·​cae·​na drə-ˈsē-nə How to pronounce dracaena (audio)
: any of a genus of trees or shrubs that are related to the lilies, have branches with bunches of sword-shaped leaves at the ends, and bear clusters of small greenish white flowers

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