Within the last few blogs post we have spoken about quite a lot of weird, unusual and some downright annoying plants, but one of the plants that I felt I had to talk about with you guys was the Dracaena Cinnabari, which is otherwise known as the Socotra Dragon Tree. The dragon tree as a species are not exactly unheard of, but the Socotra is one of the more unknown ones, and is actually known as a “Vulnerable” plant too.
The best way to experience what is so unique about the plant itself in terms of the way it looks is to look at the picture we will put at the top. But the west way to describe it, is that the crown opens up as an umbrella would. The reason it is called dragons blood is because of the red resin of the tree itself, and has its own zonal system around the tree. Another interesting aspect about the Dragon Tree is the way the leaves form. Every 3 or 4 years once the trees leaves have outgrown themselves, they shed and newer leaves simultaneously grow from the old branches. These leaves only ever grow out of the youngest branches however. These branches and leaves only die when a herbivore eats the terminal bud too.
The Dragon Tree also grows its own fruits, which are small and fleshy berries that contain anywhere between 1 and 3 seeds at a time. They grow from green to black, and then turn into an orange colour when they ripen. These berries are designed to be eaten by birds for the main reason of dispersion.
The uses of Dragons Blood
The dragon tree over the years has had many uses for humans. The Dragons blood (the resin from the tree) acts as both a stimulant and an abortifacient, and the root itself holds a gum-resin, which can even be used for toothpaste. The dragons blood has been highly sought after in history and to this day is still an in-demand quantity, as it can be used both as a dye for clothing and fabrics and as a medicine. Some of the many other uses for dragon’s blood in the past and to this day are as a breath freshener, glue and even as a form of lipstick for females. Others have even used it for alchemy and what can be considered ritual magic in the past.
The Greeks, Romans and Arabs have all used Dragons blood as a cure for many types of diseases, from diarrhoea and dysentery to using it to lower fevers. It has also been used as both a general healing product for wounds and as a coagulant, and for ulcers in the stomach, intestines, throat and mouth. There have been so many uses for it medicinally that it makes it that much more surprising that it was used as a varnish for violin makers.
From the way Dragon Trees look to the many useful properties that the resin has within, the Dragon Tree has always been one of the most admired and wondered plants of known time. From the ancient times to today, there are still uses for the Dragons Tree and it is still as much of a wonder as ever.