Happy October, the month of Halloween and all things spooky! Let’s start the month off with an unusual plant with an unusual, slightly eerie name: the Dragon’s Blood Tree.
The Dragon’s Blood Tree (dracaena cinnabari) is an evergreen tree native to Socotra Island, a remote island located in the Indian Ocean, with an unusual appearance that looks like a giant mushroom or upside umbrella. It is a flowering plant. In February, small, fragrant white or greenish flowers will bloom at the ends of the branches. After which, the tree will produce orange berries, which takes about 5 months to develop. Trees can reach up to 10m (33ft) tall!
It’s called Dragon’s Blood Tree because it bleeds a dark red resin (sap) from the branches and trunk. The resin is considered a valuable substance and even thought to contain magical properties, as they were reportedly used in spells and rituals. Since the ancient times, Greeks and Romans have used “Dragon’s Blood” for medicinal purposes, to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal issues. Today, it is used as a varnish for violins, as medicine, for incense and dyes. The resin is thought to possess anti-inflammatory properties to fight infection and inflammation.
Though, Socotra Island’s climate is harsh, hot and dry, Dragon’s Blood Tree can live up to 300 years! It is the bizarre shape of the crown that helps the seedlings survive its harsh environment, by providing shade and reducing evaporation when water is transported from the leaves down to the branches, trunk and roots.
These trees are truly fascinating! It’s no wonder that tourism to the Island have been increasing. But sadly, Dragon’s Blood Tree is considered endangered. Efforts are being made to help conserve the remaining trees. Urbanization, overgrazing and climate changes are some of the possible causes of the decline in population.
Other weird plants:
- Crooked Forest of Gryfino, Poland (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Dancing Plant (Codariocalyx Motorius) (funflowerfacts.com)
- Puya Berteroniana, A Rare & Exotic Plant (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Jellyfish Tree (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Toothache Plant (funflowerfacts.com)
- The VapoRub Plant (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Hooker’s Lips Plant (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Walking Plant, the Tree that can Walk (funflowerfacts.com)
- The World’s Shiniest Plant (funflowerfacts.com)