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Dracaena jayniana was recently identified as a new species by a team including Kew botanist Paul Wilkin and collaborators in Thailand, the Netherlands and Poland. It is named in honour of Jayne Spasojevic in recognition of a charitable donation by her husband to a sponsored skydive in aid of Portfield School in Dorset, UK. The epithet also sounds like the Thai vernacular name Chan.

Dracaena jayniana (red dragon tree)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

Dracaena jayniana was recently identified as a new species by a team including Kew botanist Paul Wilkin and collaborators in Thailand, the Netherlands and Poland. It is named in honour of Jayne Spasojevic in recognition of a charitable donation by her husband to a sponsored skydive in aid of Portfield School in Dorset, UK. The epithet also sounds like the Thai vernacular name Chan.

Dracaena jayniana is part of a group of species related to the Canary Islands dragon tree D. draco.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Dracaena jayniana is restricted to central and northeastern Thailand. It is found on limestone karsts at 300-500 m above sea level, usually on hilltops rather than the steep cliff sides.

The inaccessible nature of this landscape coupled with its lack of soil and low water availability has helped protect it from agricultural development. It contains many rare and unusual species that are often restricted to karst limestone.

Description

Overview: Woody stems up to 8 m tall, branched at the base, with usually 3-5 erect stems in a cluster. Stems bear leaf scars from the base to the apex. Bark pale brown to grey-brown with vertical fissures towards the base, peeling away on each side of fissure. Dark red sap oozes from damaged bark.

Extremely long, woody roots are produced that can reach down to the water table below the arid, rocky limestone habitat.

Leaves: Tough, leathery, pale green to white, in dense clusters at tips of stems. Leaf blades dark green, up to 75 cm long and 1.3 cm wide. All but the youngest leaves are curved near the base.

Flowers : Tepals (undifferentiated petals and sepals) dull golden yellow. Flowers borne on erect to ascending inflorescences with four levels of branching.

Fruits: A berry with up to three seeds, shiny olive-green when immature, probably dull red when mature (known to be red-black when dried), about 1 cm in diameter.

Seedlings: Leaves borne in two opposite rows on the stem (rather than forming a rosette).

Threats and conservation

Dracaena jayniana is considered to be Endangered according to IUCN Red List criteria (preliminary assessment). It is restricted to isolated limestone karst outcrops, resulting in a fragmented distribution. It is slow-growing and has poor fruit-set (relative to other species of Dracaena ).

Mature plants are collected from the wild for use in horticulture. However, D. jayniana is less popular than other Dracaena species, and a number of populations are close to temples, which affords them some protection. It is collected by locals who consider it to bring good luck.

In Thailand, many limestone habitats are threatened by extraction for concrete manufacture, especially those closest to cities such as Bangkok.

Uses

Dracaena jayniana is cultivated as an ornamental in Thailand.

A tonic drink is made from the dried red sap.

This species at Kew

Pressed and dried specimens of Dracaena jayniana are held in Kew's Herbarium where they are available to researchers by appointment.

Distribution
Thailand
Ecology
Limestone karsts; usually on hilltops rather than steep cliff sides.
Conservation
Endangered according to IUCN Red List criteria (preliminary assessment).
Hazards

None known.

[KBu]

Wilkin, P., Suksathan, P., Keeratikiat, K. et al. Kew Bull (2012) 67: 697. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12225-012-9412-2

Conservation
There are five populations of Dracaena jayniana represented by herbarium specimens. Three are in Loei Province, the most northerly in Wang Saphung District and two others in NongHin and Pha Khao districts. Further south it has been found in Lam Son Ti and Chan Thuek Districts. Other localities in which D. jayniana occurs that are not represented by collections in herbaria are in Saraburi Province at Wat Ta Pan Hin (14°38'2.82""N 101° 9'3.83""E), Wat Pra Bhat Noi (14°39'26.83""N 100°59'9.25""E) and Nakhon Sawan Province at ThamphetThamthong Forest Park (15°18'33.53""N 100°23'27.26""E) (Map 1). Using GeoCAT (Bachman et al. 2011; http://geocat.kew.org/), extent of occurrence (EOO) was calculated to be 22,271 km2 and area of occupancy 32 km2 based on a user defined cell width of 2 km. Although it is abundant at each of these localities, it is restricted to isolated karst limestone outcrops, resulting in a fragmented distribution. It is a slow growing species with observed poor fruit set relative to other species of Dracaena and potentially limited recruitment to the adult phase, which is extracted from the wild for use in horticulture in Thailand. However, it is less popular than other Dracaena (Chan) taxa and a number of populations are protected by proximity to temples. There is no evidence yet of over-extraction but sustainability studies are needed at population level. Limestone habitats are generally threatened in Thailand by extraction for concrete manufacture, especially those closest to cities such as Bangkok; the populations in Saraburi are the most vulnerable to this threat. Thus a preliminary assessment of Endangered EN B2ab (ii, iii), based on the criteria of IUCN (2001), is indicated.
Distribution
Endemic to central and northeastern Thailand (Map 1).
Ecology
On limestone karsts, usually found on hilltops rather than the steep cliff sides; alt. 300 – 500 m. It is often associated with Pandanus, succulent/spiny Euphorbia and Cycas spp. in vegetation that is otherwise deciduous and highly seasonal.
Morphology General Indumentum
Indumentum absent
Morphology Leaves
Leaves in dense clusters at stem apices, coriaceous; sheath to c. 6 × 4 cm, elliptic to ovate, clasping stem for c. 180°, pale green to white, often drying with irregular red pigmentation from sap; blade c. 40 – 75 × 0.5 – 1.3 cm, not pseudopetiolate (narrowed above sheath), linear-acuminate, dark green, all but the youngest leaves curved near the base, apex pendent, with a weak central to slightly offset costa in basal half of blade, to c. 5 mm wide and 1 mm thick in centre when dry, sometimes paler in colour below, primary venation parallel, dense, sometimes denser in costa than elsewhere, secondary venation not visible, margins with fine translucent denticuli (Fig. 1D) (at least on the sheath and often more densely so there), thickened and opaque
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers in glomerules of up to 5 flowers, rarely solitary, inter-glomerule distance (5 –) 7 – 20 (– 33) mm, not less than 8 mm between basal glomeruli and at least 5 mm apart above or very rarely subopposite on opposite sides of secondary/tertiary axis, not apically crowded; glomerular bracts to c. 2 mm long, broadly ovate or broadly triangular to transversely oblong, membranous, clasping pedicel bases, apex acute to acuminate; floral bracts similar to glomerular bracts in size, often narrower and inserted between pedicel bases; pedicel (in flower) 1.9 – 4.6 × 0.2 – 0.4 mm below the articulation, filiform, accrescent to 8.8 mm long in fruit; 2.0 – 3.7 mm long and broader (to c. 0.8 mm in diam.) above articulation, accrescent to c. 6 mm long in fruit; flowers often closed with erect tepals (pre and post anthesis), a few at anthesis (which is probably diurnal) with tepals spreading to recurved at about 1/3 of their length
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments fused to tepals for c. 0.8 – 1.2 mm at base, free part 2.8 – 3.9 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm, lanceoloid to narrowly ellipsoid, pale golden yellow, opaque, apex acuminate, bearing a dorsifixed 1.2 – 1.7 × 0.3 – 0.4 mm anther, narrowly oblongoid, pale yellow
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 3.4 – 3.6 × 1.3 – 1.5 mm, fusiform-cylindric, dull golden yellow, with 3 spreading apical lobes around the style base; style 2.2 – 2.4 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm, cylindric, stigma 0.5 – 0.7 mm in diam., capitate, weakly 3-lobed, style and stigma white
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Tepal
Tepals fused at base for c. 0.8 – 1.2 mm, inserted on a conical receptacle of c. 1.5 × 2.0 mm, tepals (free part) 5.0 – 6.0 × 1.5 – 2.1 mm, narrowly ovate to oblong, inner whorl slightly broader than outer, dull golden yellow, membranous and translucent towards margins, central vein darker, apices obtuse, cucullate, thickened, minutely scaly
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a berry, with 1 – 2 (– 3) seeds, 6.0 – 10.3 × 5.8 – 9.0 mm (if 1-seeded), diam. to 12.7 mm in 2- or 3-seeded fruits, (sub)globose to flattened-globose, weakly lobed when 2 or 3 seeds develop, shiny olive green when immature and marked with 3 longitudinal lines which are between lobes in seeds with 2 or 3 seeds, probably dull red when mature but red-black when dry, style base persistent in some immature fruits, with a pale brown 3-lobed scar
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence terminal on shoot, erect to ascending, more pendent in appearance in fruit but primary axis straight and produced in the direction of shoot growth, not curved towards base; peduncle c. 10 × 1 cm, fertile axis to c. 50 cm long, both parts robust and woody at least in fruit, axis compound, with 4 levels of branching, each with reduced diam., partial inflorescences racemose, ultimate axes bearing flowers in glomerules (the 4th level branches), 12 – 28 cm long, often richly produced to give a spread to c. 1 m; primary axis bracts to c. 15 mm long, ovate, acuminate, scarious, base clasping axis and subtending 1 – 3 secondary branches, secondary branch bracts to c. 4 mm long, ovate, acute, base and texture as in primary axis bracts
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds c. 6.3 × 5.5 × 3.8 mm and subglobose (1-seeded fruits) or c. 8.5 × 7.9 × 7.5 mm and hemisubglobose (2-seeded fruits), not seen in 3-seeded fruits but probably triquetrous, pale to mid brown, surface rugose when dry, hilum basal, circular.
Morphology Stem
Stems to 5 (– 8) m tall, woody, basal diam. to c. 10 cm, always basally branched, with usually 3 – 5 erect stems in a cluster, each sometimes divided into decumbent branches towards apex when axillary buds develop on a shoot following flowering, apical diam. 34 – 56 mm when unbranched, 28 – 52 mm branched; leaf scars visible from stem base to apex, to c. 1 mm apart, grey to grey-brown, epidermis pale brown to grey-brown, texture like thin card, with vertical fissures towards base, peeling away on either side of fissure (Figs 1B and 3C); where it is damaged, dark red-brown areas of dried sap a few mm in diam. are encountered
Note

In addition to the adult phase morphological differences with other dragon tree group taxa, Dracaena jayniana has a seedling phase that has distichous leaves (Fig. 1E). All other taxa in Thailand and the Canary Islands where seedlings have been observed have seedlings with rosulate leaves. Marrero et al. (1998) highlighted and illustrated seedling differences between D. draco and D. tamaranae, but both of them are rosulate and differ only in the thickness and curvature of the leaf and the shape of the young root. Investigations of seedling morphology in other dragon tree group taxa are needed.

Dracaena jayniana is named in honour of Jayne Spasojevic in recognition of a charitable donation by her husband David Spasojevic. He made the largest donation to a sponsored tandem skydive in aid of Portfield School in Christchurch, Dorset. The epithet also sounds like the Thai vernacular name Chan.

Dracaena jayniana differs from all other Dracaena taxa possessing free tepals and stamens which are inserted at the tepal bases with thickened filaments (the dragon tree group) in the characters that follow. The seedling is distichous, not rosulate. It is branched at the base into stems that bear leaf scars from the base to the apex and towards their bases have a vertically fissured epidermis. Its inflorescence is erect, lacking a curved peduncle.
Type
Type: Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) Province, Chan Thuek (Chantuk) Distr., Tachang, Kerr 9989 (holotype K!; isotypes BM!, C!, L!, P!). Figs 1, 2 and 3
Vegetative Multiplication
Underground organs unknown
Vernacular
Chan daeng in central and northeastern Thailand. The same vernacular name is sometimes applied to Dracaena yuccifolia in Peninsular Thailand.

[KSP]
Use
Tonic drink, ornamental.

[KBu]
Use
A tonic drink is made from the dried red sap. It is also used in horticulture in Thailand.

Native to:

Thailand

English
Red dragon tree

Dracaena jayniana Wilkin & Suksathan appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 67: 698 (2012)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00997-6 Scientific Data 8: 215.

Literature

Kew Bulletin

  • Bos, J. J. & Teketay, D. (1997). Dracaenaceae. In: S. Edwards, D. Sebsebe & I. Hedberg (eds), Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Vol. 6, Hydrocharitaceae to Araceae, pp. 76 – 84. The National Herbarium, Biology Department, Science Faculty, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa; Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala.
  • Brown, N. E. (1914). Notes on the genera Cordyline, Dracaena, Pleomele, Sansevieria and Taetsia. Kew Bull. 1914: 273 – 279.
  • Chen, S. C. (1980). Dracaena. In F. T. Wang & T. Tang (eds), Flora ReipublicaePopularisSinicae 14: 273 – 278. Science Press, Beijing.
  • Chen, X. & Turland, N. J. (2000). Dracaena Vandelli ex Linnaeus. In: Z. Wu & P. H. Raven (eds), Flora of China 24: Flagellariaceae through Marantaceae, pp. 215 – 217. Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • Gagnepain, F. (1934a). QuelquesLiliacéesnouvellesd’Indochine. Bull. Soc. Bot. France 81: 286 – 289.
  • Gagnepain, F. (1934b). Dracaena L.. In: H. Lecomte (ed.), Flore Générale de l’Indochine 6: 795 – 801. Masson et Cie, Paris.
  • Govaerts, R., Zona, S. A. & Zonneveld, B. J. M. (2011). World Checklist of Asparagaceae. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp accessed 9 Aug. 2011 16:00 GMT.
  • Hooker, J. D. (1892). Flora of British India 6: 327 – 331. L. Reeve & Co., London.
  • IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission, IUCN, Gland and Cambridge.
  • Marrero, A. (2000). Dracaena tamaranae, el género dracaena y otrosafines: análisismorfológico para un aproximaciónfilogenética. El Museo Canario 55: 301 – 334.
  • Marrero, A., Almeida, R. S. & Gonzalez-Martin, M. (1998). A new species of the wild dragon tree, Dracaena (Dracaenaceae) from Gran Canaria and its taxonomic and biogeographic implications. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 128: 291 – 314.
  • Ridley, H. N. (1896). The Dracaenas of the Malay Peninsula. J. Bot. 34: 162 – 168.
  • Ridley, H. N. (1924). The Flora of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. 4. Monocotyledons. L. Reeve & Co., London.
  • Shorthouse, D. P. (2010). SimpleMappr, an online tool to produce publication-quality point maps. [Retrieved from http://www.simplemappr.net. Accessed 15 May 2012].
  • Thulin, M. (1995). Flora of Somalia: Vol. 4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Species Profiles

  • Wilkin, P., Suksathan, P., Keeratikiat, K., Van Welzen, P. & Wiland-Szymańska, J. (2012). A new threatened endemic species from central and northeastern Thailand, Dracaena jayniana (Asparagaceae: tribe Nolinoideae). Kew Bulletin 67: 697–705.

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Bulletin
Kew Bulletin
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Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0