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Cordyline fructicosa: the "sacred" plant

photo credit: alfredoeloisa 193 via photopin (license)

Cordyline fruticosa, also called cordilina, is an evergreen shrub. A native of Australia, it is nowadays a plant spread all over the world, especially in India and in Polynesia. It also belongs to the subfamily of the Agavaceae and also to that of the Asparagaceae. The Cordilyne fruticosa has a rather short stem and its habit is bushy. The leaves are arranged in rosettes and their shape is ribbon-like until the moment of full maturity, when they become completely lance-shaped. These come off spontaneously from the stem and gradually leave room for new leaves. The maximum height that the cord can reach is 60 cm and is characterized by a dark green color that sometimes can acquire reddish shades. Flowering occurs in summer with white or purple flowers. The plant is further colored by small bright red berries that appear as a result of flowering.

Cultivation
Whether you prefer growing on the ground or in the pot, Cordilyne fruticosa needs a light soil high drainage capacity. It is a rather resistant plant, which however needs a constant control especially in terms of acidity of the soil which must be slightly sub-acidic. The partial shade is the perfect exposure for this plant, which is why the cordilina is perfect as a houseplant even in virtue of the internal temperature that should always oscillate between 15 and 20 degrees. However, it is afraid of sudden changes in temperature and drafts which can represent an important source of stress for the plant. The soil where the Cordilyne fruticosa is placed must always be well fertilized so that it can always maintain its luxuriant appearance, which can be found starting from the color of the leaves.

Diseases and cures
Only pests, such as aphids or fungi can represent a serious danger to the plant. This problem can be solved with specific products, but you must be sure that these are completely eliminated to remove any danger of relapse. Manifestations from bacterial attacks can also be caused by cultural errors, all these problems that can be detected through the pigmentation of the leaves. In these last cases, unfortunately, effective treatments are not available and this is why Cordilyne fruticosa requires precautionary measures which are usually limited to the correct drainage of the soil and the monitoring of acidity.

Curiosity
n the areas where this plant originates, it is still possible today to find a rather singular use of Cordilyne fruticosa. This is in fact used during religious rites as it is considered sacred. Again, still in the same areas, it is not uncommon for it to be used to make sugar or to make alcoholic beverages.

 

 

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