Song of India – Bois de Chandelle Dracaena reflexa

  • Savannah
  • Plant
  • Tree
  • Medicinal


D. reflexa is a small tree native to Mozambique, Madagascar and the islands of the Western Indian Ocean, including Mauritius. Its common name is bois de chandelle.

In the wild and in protected areas it can reach in height 4 to 5 meters and up to 6 meters; however, it usually remains much smaller as it is a popular houseplant. It tends to grow slowly and in an upright manner. Unlike other Dracaena species that develop a very orderly crown, Dracaena reflexa is characterized by a very uneven and ‘messy’ architecture. The leaves are lanceolate, measure between 5 to 20 centimeters and are arranged in a spiral. The tree produces small clustered white flowers that are extremely fragrant and produce bright orange or red fruit.

Habitat and ecology

In its native habitat, D. reflexa is found in the intermediate and upland forests, although it is known to be very adaptable and drought tolerant.


Conservation and threats

Its native range is sufficiently abundant, and the plant is dispersed as a house plant throughout the world. D. reflexa is therefore a species of Least Concern. The tree may be found in protected areas such as the Black River Gorges National Park and is part of reforestation programs throughout the island.

Did you know?

Bois de Chandelle derives its common name from the resin of the tree, which once heated burns continuously and emits a rather pleasant smell. It is also thought to have medicinal properties.