Convallaria fruticosa Linnaeus, Herb. Amb. 16. 1754; Aletris chinensis Lamarck; Asparagus terminalis Linnaeus, nom. illeg. (included C. fruticosa); Cordyline terminalis (Linnaeus) Kunth; C. terminalis var. ferrea (Linnaeus) Baker; Dracaena ferrea Linnaeus, nom. illeg. (included C. fruticosa); D. terminalis (Linnaeus) Linnaeus; Taetsia ferrea (Linnaeus) Medikus; T. fruticosa (Linnaeus) Merrill; T. terminalis (Linnaeus) W. Wight ex Safford.
Plants erect, shrubby. Stems simple or sometimes branched, 1--3 m × 1--3 cm. Leaves petiolate; petiole 10--30 cm, channeled adaxially, base dilated, clasping stem and other petiole bases; leaf blade green or variously colored, oblong-lanceolate, elliptic-lanceolate, or narrowly oblong, 25--50 × 5--10 cm, midvein distinct and raised abaxially, apex aristate. Panicle 30--60 cm; branches spreading, 6--13 cm, many flowered. Flowers subsessile or shortly pedicellate; pedicel (if distinct) to 4 mm, subtended by 3 bracteoles; bracteoles ovate, 2--3 mm, margin broadly membranous, apex cuspidate. Perianth reddish, yellowish, or bluish purple; tube 5--6 mm; lobes erect or recurved, nearly as long as tube. Stamens inserted in throat of perianth, scarcely exserted. Fruit reddish, several seeded. Fl. Nov--Mar.
Widely cultivated, sometimes naturalized. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan [probably native to Pacific Islands but cultivated pantropically].
Some authors have adopted the name Cordyline terminalis instead of C. fruticosa because of the apparent earlier homonym C. fruticosa Goeppinger (1855); however, the latter name was not validly published.