Under the popular name of "dracaena", plants of two very different genera, Dracaena (about 150 species) and Cordyline (15), are often referred to. Dracaena marginata is one of the most common species in homes and gardens. Native to Madagascar, the different cultivars play with the different shades of their leaves, characterised in any case by margins of a different colour to the centre of their blades, hence their specific epithet marginata (for many authors it is a variety, Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia). The name of the genus, Dracaena, derives from the Greek name of the dragon, to which the Canary Island dragon tree belongs, a tree considered magical because of the blood-red colour ("Dragon's blood") of its sap when it comes into contact with the air.
Dracaena are very popular as ornamental plants thanks to their easy cultivation and the diversity of colours and decoration of their leaves (the flowers are not usually of ornamental interest). They are mainly known as indoor plants, although in warm and temperate climates they adapt well to outdoor use.
The fine-leaved dracaena is a highly resistant species and is also one of the plants studied by NASA, capable of eliminating formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from the environment.