Banana shrub plant care

Banana shrub plant care

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Banana shrub plant care

Banana shrub, the botanical name for Dracaena sanderi, is a native plant species that occurs in many tropical and subtropical countries. Dracaena sanderi is a long-lived perennial plant growing up to tall.

The common name of banana shrub refers to its flowering and fruit-producing growth habit. When young, it bears a large panicle of long flowers similar in appearance to banana flowers, and when these flowers mature, they may then be described as banana shrub flowers or simply as banana flowers, because of their similarity to banana flowers.

Dracaena sanderi has become a popular ornamental plant and has been described as the "most important ornamental species in the tropics". The specific epithet "sanderi" refers to Heinrich Christian Siebert, who collected the plant in Borneo.

Growth habit

Dracaena sanderi is an evergreen upright perennial growing from a woody rhizome, which may be up to long. The stems have a number of leaf bases at the base of the plant. The plant has leathery green leaves up to long and wide, and can grow tall. The leaves generally have three pairs of veins. The leaves are shiny green, but turn reddish brown when the plant is under stress. The leaves may turn yellow when the plant is stressed by a prolonged dry spell, or when it is too cold.

Flowers and fruit

Dracaena sanderi bears flower buds from late winter to early summer, during which the leaves drop off to form leaf scars. The main inflorescences form at the leaf scars, and the number of main inflorescences depends on the amount of light available to the plant. Each main inflorescence is long, and has 1–6 flowers on each stem. Flowers are produced at the leaf scars, and are yellowish-white. The flowers are bisexual, and open during the day. The stamens are hidden at the base of the corolla, and are long. The fruit matures in late summer and early autumn, and each fruit is a woody capsule long and wide, with a peltate lid. The capsules contain 1-2 seeds per pod.


The plant was first described in 1870 by Ferdinand von Mueller, who named the new species Dracaena sanderi after the collector Carl Ernst Sander. D. sanderi is the type species of the monotypic genus Dracaena. It was first classified in the section Elaeidens. It was later moved to the section Dracaena in 1971. D. sanderi is the sole member of its section. It is placed in the subgenus Dracaena. The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families includes D. sanderi in the section Dracaena. The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families also includes D. sanderi in the subsection Dracaenoidae, although an earlier checklist considered the subsection to be synonymous with the genus.

In 1989, the subgenus was revised. It was divided into four sections: Dracaenoidae, Dracaeninae, Laxmaninae and Rhizophora. D. sanderi was placed in the subgenus Dracaena, in the subsection Dracaenoidae. D. sanderi was also transferred from the subsection to the subsection Dracaenoidae. A further division of the subsection Dracaenoidae was created in 1993, and D. sanderi was placed in the subsection Elaeocarpus.

It was later transferred back to the subsection Dracaenoidae, in 2009.

Distribution and habitat

D. sanderi is found in wet tropical forests in Australia and the South Pacific, such as in Papua New Guinea, north Queensland, and northeastern Queensland. It is an endemic rainforest tree to New South Wales and Queensland.



Category:Endemic flora of New South Wales

Category:Endemic flora of Queensland

Category:Trees of Australia

Category:Fagales of Australia

Category:Flora of New South Wales

Category:Flora of Queensland

Category:Plants described in 1841

Category:Taxa named by Robert Brown