Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cordyline fruticosa (L.) A.Chev.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Chevalier, A.J.B. (1919) Catalogue des Plantes du Jardin Botanique de Saigon : 66.

Common name

Tiplant; Broad-leaved Palm Lily; Lignum


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 2-3 m tall, occasionally to 5 m tall.


Leaf blades reddish, about 25-80 x 5-12 cm, petioles about 8-20 cm long, grooved on the upper surface. Base of the petiole clasping the stem and leaving a ring-like scar when shed.


Panicles about 20-40 cm long, flowers sessile or pedicels up to 2 mm long. Sepals and petals of similar size, glabrous, about 9-12 mm long. Anther filaments about 7 x 1 mm, white, winged, tapering to the apex. Anthers cream, about 3.5-4 mm long. Ovary about 2.5 mm long. Style and stigma about 7-8 mm long. Ovary and stigma white.


Fruits about 1 cm diam.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in the northern part of CYP. Altitudinal range probably very small, being found just above sea level. This species is widely cultivated in Malesia, northern Australia and the Pacific islands. It may have become naturalised in the closed forests of the northern part of Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait Islands close to habitation.

Natural History & Notes

A commonly cultivated species with numerous horticultural colour varieties available. Leaves are sold commercially for use in floral decorations. The leaves of this plant are used in a similar manner to toilet paper and one of the common names reflects this usage.

Calodracon terminalis (L.) Planch., Fl. Serres Jard. Eur. 6: 137(1850). Dracaena terminalis (L.) Jacq., Icon. Pl. Rar. : t 448(1781). Cordyline terminalis (L.) Kunth, Abhandlungen der Koniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin for 1842 : 30(1844). Cordyline jacquinii Kunth, Abh. Konigl. Acad. Wiss. Berlin 1842 : 30(1842). Asparagus terminalis L., Sp. Pl. 2nd edn : 450(1762). Convallaria fruticosa L., Amoen. Acad. 4: 1126(1759), Type: Rumphius, Herb. Amboin. 4: 79 t. 34 (1743). Cordyline hedychioides F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 196(1865), Type: Queensland, Cape York, E. Daemel; holo: MEL; iso: K. Cordyline terminalis var. hedychioides (F.Muell.) Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 14 : 541(1875).
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