Cordyline fruticosa (L.) A.Chev.

Last updated:8 August 2016

Scientific Name

Cordyline fruticosa (L.) A.Chev.


Aletris chinensis Lam., Asparagus terminalis L. [Illegitimate], Calodracon heliconiifolia (Otto & A.Dietr.) Planch., Calodracon jacquinii (Kunth) Planch. [Illegitimate], Calodracon nobilis Planch., Calodracon sieberi (Kunth) Planch., Calodracon terminalis (L.) Planch., Convallaria fruticosa L., Cordyline amabilis Cogn. & Marchal, Cordyline baptistii Cogn. & Marchal, Cordyline cheesemanii Kirk, Cordyline dennisonii André, Cordyline densicoma Linden & André, Cordyline eschscholziana Mart. ex Schult. & Schult.f., Cordyline ferrea (L.) Endl. [Illegitimate], Cordyline gloriosa Linden & André, Cordyline guilfoylei Linden ex Lem., Cordyline hedychioides F.Muell., Cordyline heliconiifolia Otto & A.Dietr., Cordyline hendersonii Cogn. & Marchal, Cordyline jacquinii Kunth [Illegitimate], Cordyline javanica Klotzsch ex Kunth, Cordyline metallica Dallière, Cordyline nobilis (Planch.) K.Koch, Cordyline reali (Linden & André) G.Nicholson, Cordyline regina Veitch ex Regel, Cordyline sepiaria Seem., Cordyline sieberi Kunth, Cordyline terminalis (L.) Kunth [Illegitimate], Cordyline ti Schott, Cordyline timorensis Planch., Dianella cubensis A.Rich., Dracaena alborosea Baker [Invalid], Dracaena amabilis auct., Dracaena argenteostriata W.Bull, Dracaena aurora Linden & André, Dracaena baptistii auct., Dracaena bellula Linden & André, Dracaena brasiliensis Schult. & Schult.f., Dracaena casanovae Linden & André, Dracaena chelsoni Veitch, Dracaena cooperi Regel, Dracaena coullingii auct., Dracaena cuprea T.Moore, Dracaena cuprea L.Linden & Rodigas [Illegitimate], Dracaena douceti auct., Dracaena esculenta Regel, Dracaena ferrea L. [Illegitimate], Dracaena flemingii Baker [Invalid], Dracaena formosa W.Bull, Dracaena fraseri Baker [Invalid], Dracaena gibsonii Baker [Invalid], Dracaena gibsonii Baker [Invalid], Dracaena guilfoylei Veitch ex Regel, Dracaena hybrida auct., Dracaena illustris W.Bull, Dracaena imperialis Baker [Invalid], Dracaena inscripta Baker [Invalid], Dracaena leonensis Lodd. ex Loudon, Dracaena lineata Baker, Dracaena lutescens Verschaff., Dracaena macleayi Regel, Dracaena magnifica Baker [Invalid], Dracaena metallica W.Bull, Dracaena neocaledonica Linden, Dracaena nigrostriata W.Bull, Dracaena nobilis Baker [Invalid], Dracaena picta W.Bull, Dracaena porteana Baker [Invalid], Dracaena princeps W.Bull, Dracaena pulchella Baker [Invalid], Dracaena pulcherrima Baker [Invalid], Dracaena reali Linden & André, Dracaena regalis Baker [Invalid], Dracaena reginae T.Moore, Dracaena regis André, Dracaena robinsoniana André, Dracaena rothiana Carrière, Dracaena salviati Linden, Dracaena sepiaria Seem., Dracaena siamensis Baker [Invalid], Dracaena splendens Baker [Invalid], Dracaena sulcata Baker [Invalid], Dracaena terminalis L., Dracaena troubetzkoi Linden & André, Dracaena utilis Baker [Invalid], Dracaena warocquei Linden & André, Ezehlsia palma Lour. ex B.A.Gomes, Taetsia ferrea Medik., Taetsia fruticosa (L.) Merr., Taetsia terminalis (L.) W.Wight [Illegitimate], Terminalis fruticosa (L.) Kuntze, Cordyline terminalis var. baileyi F.M.Bailey, Cordyline terminalis var. boryi Benth., Cordyline terminalis var. hedychioides (F.Muell.) Baker, Cordyline terminalis var. sepiaria (Seem.) Benth., Cordyline terminalis var. sieberi (Kunth) Benth., Cordyline terminalis var. ti (Schott) Benth., Taetsia fruticosa var. casanovae (Linden & André) Guillaumin, Taetsia fruticosa var. ferrea Standl. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Andong, juang, jenjuang, senjuang, sabang  [2], daun juang-juang [3]
English Good luck plant, Chinese fire leaf, palm lily, Hawaiian good luck plant, tree of kings [3]
China Zhu jiao [2], ya zhu na [3][4]
Indonesia Bak juang, lak-lak, linjuang, anderuang, renjuwang, sabang, sawang sabang, andong, weluga, wersingin, weusisi [4]
Thailand Maak phuu, maak mia [3] 
Philippines Tungkadi pari [3]
Vietnam Phat du, chong deng, huyet du [2]
Japan Sen-nen-boku [2]
Papua new guinea Aegop, masau, kava, bauga, elavi, ta’un, ariko [4]
Tonga island Si Si Tongotongo [4]
Fiji Vasili, qai, ti, masawe, kokotodamu [4]
Netherland Limiestriuk [3][4]
German Endstandige keulenlilie, endstandige kolbenlilie [3]
Portugal Croton [3]
Hawaii Ki [2][3][4], ti [2][4] lau’i [4]
Tahiti Auti [3]
New zealand Ti pore [4]
Australia Churoga (Tully River Aborigines) [2]
Papua New Guinea Bauga, bidowi, elaivi, kava, kuatbu, rir tapisu, si’i, tanget, tesewa [2]

Geographical Distributions

Cordyline fruticosa can be found in Malaysia, Archipelago, New Guinea, India, Indonesia, Oceania, North East Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia and Hawaii. [3]

Botanical Description

C. fructicosa is a member of the Asteliaceae family. It is a perennial shrub which can reach up to 4 m high. [2]

The stem is erect, slender with horseshoe-shaped scars of fallen leaf stalk. [5]

The leaves are alternate, spiraled, and mostly clustered at top of the stem. The petiole measures 4-20 cm long, narrow, sharply differentiated from the blade with the base clasping the stem. The leaf blade measures 14-57 cm long and 3-14 cm wide, strap-shaped, lanceolate with tips bluntly pointed, colours varying with different cultivars ranging from green to pink, maroon to dark maroon and sometimes variegated. The midrib is pronounced and the stalk is deeply grooved. The veins runs parallel. [5]

The flowers are small white, yellow or red in colour. They are radially symmetrical, crowded on a branched inflorescence. The flowering stem measures 30-70 cm long, often red. The fruits are in clusters, small, round red fleshy berries and containing three seeds. [5]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

C. fruticosa  has been reported to contain cholestane [6], 5b-spirostanes; sapogenin smilagenin; fructans; saponins; imidazole alkaloids; lenoleic acid; sarsasapogenins; smilagenin and tyramine. [7]

Plant Part Used

Young shoot [3], leaves, young leaf bud and roots [7]

Traditional Use

C. fruticosa is used in the treatment of most cases of bleeding including, haemoptysis, bleeding per vaginum, menorrhagia, haematuria, bleeding haemorrhoids, bleeding wounds and espistaxis. It is the leaves that is being used in most cases. [8][9]

The juice expressed from the leaf after heating it is the remedy for sores and pimples of the Tok Sisin tribe in Papua New Guinea. The Fijian make use of this juice to treat earache, sore eyes and eczema. The roots cures toothache and laryngitis while the outer rind of the flower stalk is used in the treatment of syphilis. [7][10]

In the south Pacific islands this plant is reputed to be an abortifacient. The leaves and the stem had been used by tribes of Fiji Islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tonga and Vanuatu to procure abortion in various ways. [7][10][11][12]

In New Guinea, C. fruticosa is considered a stimulant which stimulates fierceness in young warriors. Decoction of the roots is given to lactating mothers to treat infection of the mammary glands. Juice expressed from heated leaves is given to those with colds and cough, and whooping cough. The young lef is believed to have the ability to relieve chest pains and the new shoot treats fillariasis. [7][8][9] 

Preclinical Data


Antiproliferative activity 

Thymidine was isolated in the aqueous extract of C. fruticosa. This compound was found to inhibit EL4 cell replication and decrease cell viability after 12-24 hours of exposure to it. The treated cell culture showed a significant increase in S phase cells and a corresponding decrease in G1 phase cells. [13]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

The traditional use of the plant to procure abortion automatically contraindicates its use during pregnancy. However, there do not seem to be any prohibition in its use during lactation. [7][10][11][12] 

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation

Interaction with drug

No documentation

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation

Case Report

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Cordyline fruticosa (L.) A.Chev.Ver 1.1. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 March 23; cited on 2016 Apr 5]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of plant names: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC, 1999; p. 430.
  3. Seidemann J. World spice plants: economic usage, botany, taxonomy. Germany: Springer Sciences & Business Medic, 2005; p.116.
  4. Stuart x change. [homepage on the Internet]. [updated on 2014 August; cited on 2016 Apr 7]. Available from:
  5. Sillitoe P., Roots of the earth: crops in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Manchester. Manchester: University Press, 1983; p. 125-128.
  6. Yokosuka A, Suzuki T, Mimaki Y. New cholestane glycosides from the leaves of Cordyline terminalis. Chem Pharm Bull. 2012;60(2):275-279.
  7. Cambie RC, Ash J. Fijian medicinal plants. Australia: CSIRO; 1994.
  8. Buttner R., Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Berlin: Springer, 2001; p. 2005–2006.
  9. Dalimartha S. Atlas Tumbuhan obat Indonesia, Volume 4. Jakarta: Puspa Swara, 2007; p. 5.
  10. Nombo P & Leach J. Reite plants: an ethnobotanical study in Tok Pisin and English. Australia: ANU E Press, 2010; p. 68.
  11. Cambie RC, Brewis AA. Anti-fertility plants of the Pacific. Australia: CSIRO, 1997; p. 27.
  12. Bloomfield S.F. Illness and cure in Tonga: traditional and Modern Medical Practice. Nuku’alofa: Vava’u Press Limited, 2002; p. 144.
  13. Ooi SO, Sim KY, Chung MC, Kon OL. Selective antiproliferative effects of thymidine. Experientia. 1993 Jul 5;49(6-7):576-581.