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Slender shrubs, often supported by surrounding vegetation, usually not over 2 m tall, stems smooth, grey-brown to grey with well-spaced annular leaf scars, erect in their lower part, terminally spreading horizontally. Leaves alternate, evenly distributed, distinctly distichous towards the ends of branches, generally elliptic, occasionally ovate or obovate, lateral halves slightly unequal resulting in a more or less curved midrib, (4)12-18(20) x (1)3-6(7) cm, tip acuminate, macro awl-shaped I 3 mm long, base broadly cuneate to rounded, petiole consisting of a lightly inrolled sheath clasping the stem completely at its base, deltoid in outline when flattened out, (3)8-14(15) mm long; shiny bright to dark green above, parallel nervature distinct, evenly spaced, medially condensed into the cosla, secondary veins not visible, distinctly paler beneath, midrib prominent over its entire length, flanked by evenly spaced parallel nerves. Inflorescence terminal, continuous to the supporting branch, borne more or less horizontal, not erect, or more often reflexed and pendulous, (5)15-30(50) cm long, rarely simple, usually with up to 10 perpendicular branches, each in the axil of a narrowly triangular bract about 2 cm long, bracts shorter in distal branches, each branch-base with a distinctly shorter or even vestigial prophyll inserted in an opposite position to the bract, branches usually perpendicular to the main axis, the lowest longest and sometimes branched, rendering a conical outline to the entire inflorescence. Flowers greenish-white, distributed singly, each with a sheathing bract II 3 mm long and a slightly shorter braeteoleenveloping the base of the pedicel, pedicel jointed below the pendulous flower, (2 )4-10( 17) mm long, slender, persistent on the inflorescence; perianth 17-18( 20) mm long, including the somewhat indurated ob-conical, 5 mm long receptacle, perianth tube up to 3 mm. slightly longer than the ovary, free lobes 9-10 x 2.5 mm, showing a single median cosla, stamens inserted about 1 mm above the throat, filaments inflated, 0.5-1 mm in diameter with a subulate incurved tip. about 1-1.5 mm shorter than the corresponding perianth lobe, anthers oblong, about 2 x 1 mm. Ovary cylindrical, 2.5 x 1.5 mm, top rather concave, style terete, about 1 mm in diameter, reaching the top of the perianth, stigma capitate, 3-lobed, about 0.5 mm in diameter. Fruits rather dark green in development, turning orange red when mature, globose, distinctly lobed when more than 1-seeded, 6-9(12) mm in diameter, receptacle persistent, slightly accrescent, 7-8 mm long. Seeds globose, flattened against adjacent seeds if present, 4-6(7) mm in diameter.

Source: Bos J.J. 1984. Dracaena in West Africa. Agricultural University Wageningen papers (no. 84-01)

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Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Kenfack, David

Source: Vascular Plants of Korup National Park

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