Feature: The Dragon Blood Tree

Dracaena cinnabari, the Socotra Dragon Tree or Dragon Blood Tree, is a native to the Socotra archipelago, part of Yemen, located in the Arabian Sea.

It is so called due to the red sap that the trees produce.

The dragon blood tree has a unique and strange appearance, with an upturned densely packed crown, having the shape of an uprightly held umbrella.

This evergreen species is named after its dark red resin, which is known as “Dragon’s blood”.

Unlike most monocot plants, Dracaena displays secondary growth, which has growth zones resembling tree rings found in dicot tree species.

Along with other arborescent Dracaena species, it has a distinctive growth habit called “dracoid habitus“.

Its leaves are found only at the end of its youngest branches which all shed every 3 or 4 years before new leaves are simultaneously mature.

Branching tends to occur when the growth of the terminal bud is stopped, due to either flowering or traumatic events and Its fruits are small fleshy berries containing between 1 and 4 seeds.

As they develop they turn from green to black, and later become orange when ripe.

The berries which exude a deep red resin , known as dragon’s blood, are eaten by birds and thereby dispersed, the seeds are 4–5 mm in diameter and weigh 68mg on average.

The dragon’s blood tree usually produces its flowers around March, though flowering does vary with location. The flowers tend to grow at the end of the branches, and at maturity to produce an umbrella-shaped crown, with leaves that measure up to 60 cm long and 3 cm wide. The fruits take five months to completely mature.

The local inhabitants of the city in the Socotra Island use the dragon’s blood resin as a cure-all. Greeks, Romans, and Arabs use it in general wound healing, as a coagulant, cure for diarrhea, for dysentery diseases, for lowering fevers. It is also taken for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines, and stomach.

Dragon’s bloodroot yields a gum-resin, used in gargle water as a stimulant, astringent and in toothpaste. The root is used in rheumatism, the leaves are a carminative.

Around the Mediterranean basin, it is used as a dye and as a medicine, Socotrans use it ornamentally as well as dying wool, gluing pottery, a breath freshener, and lipstick.

Because of the belief that it is the blood of the dragon it is also used in ritual magic and alchemy.

Dragon’s blood from Tree was used as a source of varnish for 18th-century Italian violin-makers.

Culled from Wikipedia

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