The flower of Dracaena fragrans Massangeana is ugly-looking, no way about it, but WOW! does it fill the nighttime air with an intoxicating, heady, narcotic, sweet scent. I opened the front door tonight to put check out the jasmine vine as I put on the light, and was enveloped in the incredible fragrance. I have a huge plant in the front garden, off to the side, partially hidden by other plants. That’s why I’m always surprised every December when all of a sudden it fills the street with this scent – yes, it travels about 100′ in every direction.
You may know this plant and its unstriped cousins as ‘corn plant’, a common office plant. It takes total neglect – no water, fertilizer, etc.
I used to harvest the flowers and tincture the petals for a perfume base, but no more. it’s just too labor intensive. See, I have to pluck the tiny, tiny petals off the calyx, because the calyx stinks if put in alcohol. I still have a stash of it for custom perfume customers, and I’ll have to have my arm twisted to go through that harvesting process again
So, here’s a photo of the gawky flowers. Who knew what beauty could explode from this?