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Family: Dracaeneaceae

Scientific name: Dracaena hookeriana

Authority: (K.Koch) Kuntze

Synonym: Dracaena aletriformis (Haw.) Bos.

Zulu names: amagonsi, igonsi, igonsi lehlathi, igonsi lasehlathini

Other names: Dracaena plant, large leaved dragon, South African dragon tree (English), basteralwyn, grootblaardrakeboom (Afrikaans)

Plant description: D. hookeriana is a small multi-stemmed tree (or a shrub). It has large leathery strap-like leaves, small greenish white flowers, and edible fruits in the form of orange or reddish berries. The tree grows in the coastal and dune forests of Southern Africa as an understorey species.   


  • The edible fruits are eaten as food.
  • The pounded roots are administered as a bathing agent that is used as a protective charm.
  • The sap is used for wound healing and to treat dysmenorrhoea and stop bleeding.
  • The plant is used to treat pulmonary infections, such as chest pains.
  • The plant is used to make a tonic for energy and blood purification.
  • The plant is used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. 
  • The plant is used to treat malaria symptoms and poisoning.
  • The plant is cultivated as a garden ornamental and house plant.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Bannerjee, A., Panja, B. and Saha, J., 2017. Tip blight disease of Dracaena fragrans caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Botryosphaeriaceae), from India. Austrian J Mycology 26, pp.63–67.
  • Mtshali, C.S., 1994. An investigation of environmental knowledge among two rural Black communities in Natal (Doctoral dissertation, Rhodes University)
  • Nayak, A.K. and Mallick, S.N., 2021. First report of Aspergillus terreus causing sunken leaf spot on Dracaena aletriformis in India. Australasian Plant Pathology, 50, pp.7-9.
  • Randrianarivelojosia, M., Rasidimanana, V.T., Rabarison, H., Cheplogoi, P.K., Ratsimbason, M., Mulholland, D.A, and Mauclère P., 2003. Plants traditionally prescribed to treat tazo (malaria) in the eastern region of Madagascar. Malar J pp.2:25.
  • Viljoen, C. 2003. Dracaena aletriformis (Haw.) Bos (= D. hookeriana). Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Accessed: 15 August 2023.

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