Facts about dragon blood tree
The dragon blood tree resembles in its appearance a giant mushroom. It is a unique part of the Socotra Island ecosystem. There are many legends describing how the dragon blood tree came to life, and it is all because of its blood-like resin. One of the legends tells a story of a fight between a dragon and an elephant, resulting in the growth of the first dragon blood tree on the site of the dragon’s death. Another legend states the tree descends from the ancient dragon Ladon, slain by Hercules.
1The dragon blood tree belongs to the genus Dracaena.
It is unique among all the species, due to its umbrella-shaped crown.
2It is native to the Socotra archipelago.
It is an archipelago of the Republic of Yemen in the Indian Ocean.
3It belongs to approximately 37% of endemic plant species from Socotra Island.
4The dragon blood tree is an evergreen succulent tree.
It thrives in sub-tropical conditions, enjoys high temperatures, and is drought tolerant.
5The first description of the dragon blood tree comes from 1835.
Lieutenant James Raymond Wellsted led a survey of the Arabian Peninsula and discovered this unique tree while on the Socotra.
6On average, the dragon blood tree lives up to 650 years.
7They reach an average height of 9,5 meters.
Their growth rate is very slow, about 1 meter every ten years.
8It is characterized by dichotomous branching, combining into a very dense crown.
9It blooms in February, producing small fruits and berries.
10It produces red, blood-like resin, thus is where it derives its name from.
11The resin is used in medicine by the inhabitants of Socotra Island.
It is treated as a coagulant, used in wound healing, treating diarrhea, or lowering fever.
12The resin is also used in the production of varnish.
It was commonly used by 18th-century violin-makers in Italy.
13The dragon blood tree produces fruits described as a fleshy berries.
It takes approximately five months for the fruit to mature. They are eagerly eaten by various bird species and later dispersed.
14The dragon blood tree population deteriorates due to deforestation, overgrazing, and poor regeneration.
Its leaves are used as a source of food for goats.
It also suffers from climate change; the once regular monsoon weather now becomes irregular.
15For people interested in magic and alchemy, the dragon blood tree resin is, in fact, the blood of a dragon, and is used in various mystical rituals.
For instance, it is popularly used as incense.