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Products > Talbotia elegans
Talbotia elegans - False Dracaena

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Velloziaceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Vellozia elegans, Barbacenia elegans]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): High Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Talbotia elegans (False Dracaena) A small evergreen perennial long grown as Vellozia elegans. It grows to 6-8 inches tall with weak traling stems that spread outward slowly to 1 foot or more wide. It has leathery narrow green 5 inch long by 1 inch wide leaves, that are strongly pleated in the middle to appear v-shaped in cross section and are arranged in 3 ranks to form a rosette. If this plant is dry the natural reaction is for the pleated leaves to fold together and turn a purple green color. The 1 inch wide star-shaped white flowers with prominent yellow stamens rise just above the foliage singly on a delicate 4 inch tall inflorescence in late spring to early summer. Plant in light to moderate shade (even on the coast) with regular irrigation in a well-drained soil as with others in this family it does not need rich soil and can even tolerate clay so long as it can drain freely. Hardy to at least 16F - it survived temperatures almost this low (18F) with no damage in our gardens in 1990. Great as a small scale groundcover or an accent plant in a shaded rock garden or container. In its native habitat, in seeps on cliffs in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, there are reports of other color and larger flowering forms but the plant that has been in cultivation in California for many years is this smaller white flowering form. We first received this plant as Vellozia elegans in 1984 from John Bleck at the University of California Biology Greenhouses. Mr. Bleck was maintaining this plant as a representative of the Velloziaceae family for use by the plant taxonomy courses at the University. Velloziaceae is a family from the southern hemisphere (Africa and South America) that was named to honour a Portuguese naturalist named Velloz.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Talbotia elegans.