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Useful Tropical Plants

Cordyline fruticosa

(L.) A.Chev.

Asparagaceae

+ Synonyms

Aletris chinensis Lam.

Asparagus terminalis L.

Convallaria fruticosa L.

Cordyline fruticosa Göpp.

Cordyline terminalis (L.) Kunth

Dracaena ferrea L.

Dracaena terminalis L.

Taetsia ferrea Medik.

Taetsia fruticosa (L.) Merr.

Taetsia terminalis (L.) W.Wight ex Saff.

Common Name: Ti

Cordyline fruticosa
Plants growing wild
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa Cordyline fruticosa

General Information

Ti is an evergreen shrub or small tree which can be unbranched or freely-branched[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It grows from 1 - 5 metres tall[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is commonly utilised by local people for a wide range of uses. It is also widely cultivated in the moist tropics and subtropics as an ornamental plant, there are many named varieties[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

E. Asia - India, Malaysia, Indo-China to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Habitat

Often abundant in various types of forest (dry, dense, edges), on forested ridges, in thickets, and sometimes near beaches at elevations from sea level to 1,100 metres in Fiji[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height5.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny or lightly shaded position[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. Cultivars with coloured leaves need to be grown in full sun in order to bring out the full extent of their colouring[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
Plants can flower and fruit al year round[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
A very variable species[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Some forms are cultivated for their large, tuberous roots[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
].

Edible Uses

The root contains a high proportion of sugars[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. When baked, it has a flavour not unlike molasses and is eaten like this or used as a sweetener in puddings and other foods[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The root is baked for up to four days in earthen ovens to be consumed as food, sweets, refreshment, or confectionery[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
]. The tuberous root can weigh 4.5 - 6.5 kilos[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
A fermented drink is make from the sweet roots[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Young leaves are cooked and eaten as a potherb[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. They are free of any pronounced flavour and can also be used to wrap around other foods whilst they are baked[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Medicinal

An infusion of the leaves is used as a remedy for swellings, inflammations and for dry fevers[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. The juice of the leaves is used to treat colds and coughs, stomach-ache, eczema and gastritis[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. An infusion of three crushed leaves of the purple cultivar is used to treat high blood pressure[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The leaf buds are used to treat lower chest pains[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. Filariasis is treated with a solution made from the new plant shoots[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].
Applied externally, the juice of the leaves is used to treat earache and infected eyes[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. An infusion of the leaves in oil is used to treat wounds[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The leaves are crushed with oil and applied to abscesses of the gums[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. The lower portion of the leaf is macerated in olive oil and used as a cataplasm or tampon for treating wounds[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Liquid from the stem is used to treat sickness after childbirth and also to help expel the afterbirth[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The root is used to treat inflammations, baldness, toothache and laryngitis[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. Pieces of the root, soaked in vinegar, are used to make a preparation against bleeding[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The plant contains steroidal saponins[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

An ornamental plant that is often used in hedges[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are made into fringed skirts, especially for ceremonial occasions[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The leaves are sometimes used as plates or trays upon which food is spread[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. They are free of any pronounced taste, and so are also used to wrap food that is going to be baked[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The leaves are sometimes used for thatch[
417
Title
Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/ethnobotanydb/index.asp
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details on over 100 species of Hawaiian plants.
].

Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for about 10 minutes in warm water and sow in pots. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 25°c[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. There is usually a good percentage germination[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on until they are at least 10cm tall before planting them out.
Stem cuttings - cut off the main stem just below the head and then saw off 5cm thick blocks of stem and place them 3cm deep in pure peat in a shaded position. Keep them moist until they are rooting well, then pot them up into individual pots. Plant out when they are making good growth.
Suckers.

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