Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Dragon's Blood Tree

Sometimes nature provides such beautiful surprises in the forms and shapes it builds.

Dracaena cinnabari, or as it is commonly referred to, the dragon's blood tree, is found only on the Socotra islands, off the Horn of Africa and to the south of Yemen. As often happens in isolated ecosystems (think of the Galapagos) wondrous and diverse species developed on this archipelago.

These trees which resemble gargantuan mushrooms are actually a unique type of monocot, similar to palm trees. But different from all other monocotyledonous trees, the dragon's blood tree continuously branches, with leaves only forming at the ends of the young branches. This gives it its distinctive shape. 

The name "dragon's blood" derives from its dark red resin which has numerous practical and medicinal uses for the natives.  

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