The dragon’s blood tree (scientific name: Dracaena Cinnabari) is one of the unique and fascinating tree. The Dracaena genus consists of about 170 species. Plants of these species are generally found in tropical areas. Some are native to South Africa. Several species are used as ornamental houseplants. The dragon’s blood tree is native to the Socotra archipelago, located in the Arabian Sea. Here are some interesting facts about dragon's blood tree you probably didn't know before:
10 lesser known and interesting facts about dragon’s blood tree!
The Dragon’s Blood tree (Dracaena Cinnabari) is an evergreen or perennial tree. It may have lifespan of several hundred years if the conditions are favorable. Generally the tree reaches the heights of around 33-40 meters (about 10 to 12 meters). It has upside down, densely packed crown, giving it the shape of an uprightly positioned umbrella.
1. So what’s so special about this tree?
The reason behind its unique name is the red sap found inside the trees. Whenever the tree bark is cut, the red sap is secreted. This red gum like sap is called as “dragon’s blood” and thus the tree is named so. The sap of this tree is believed to have medicinal and healing properties.
The dragon blood tree is a succulent and quite resistant to heat and draught. The mature tree has characteristic umbrella-shaped crown. This crown-like structure is really helpful as it limits the rate of evaporation. Also, because of this crown-like shape, the tree resembles a giant mushroom.
2. Where is dragon’s blood tree found?
The dragon tree basically originated from a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean knows as the Socotra Archipelago. Moreover, it grows best in tropical areas. Some species are native to South Africa. The tree is generally found at elevations of approximately 300- 1,500 meters (up to 4,920 feet).
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), several Dracaena
species are endangered. The main reasons are overharvesting and habitat loss.
3. Why do dragon blood trees bleed?
For plant, we use the term “secretion”. Many plants and trees secrete resins and sticky wax-like material. However, the case is slightly different here for the dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena Cinnabari). The tree secretes red sticky resin that looks like blood. This secretion of red sap is result of injury to the tree. The phenomenon is called as “gummosis”.
4. Some interesting myths and folklores about the Dragon’s blood!
The name “Dragon blood” has nothing to do with some ancient reptile’s blood. Rather, the dragon blood is a dried red-colored resin from the dragon blood tree. People in Greek, Persia and Arab used this resin for its medicinal and healing properties.
There are some really interesting myths and legends about this resin. One of legend suggests that dragon blood tree grew from the blood spilled by a dragon that got killed while fighting with an elephant. Therefore, it is named so.
In addition, the Slavic mythology says that the dragon’s blood was so vile that Earth refused to have it inside her womb. Thus, it decided to lock it in a tree so it remains above ground for all eternity.
In some cultures, it is believed that dragon’s blood has magical powers of the serpentine lizard. Therefore, whoever touches or eats it, will die. It is also said that dragon’s blood has acidic nature that allows it to seep through metals.
5. Dragon's blood is believed to have mystical powers!
Some cultures believe that dragon’s blood can bestow a person with wisdom and strength. Moreover, it can heal many incurable disease even the blindness.
Another legend is that drinking dragon’ blood will give one the ability to learn things only the dragons had known. Furthermore, the one who drinks it gets the superhuman powers.
According to German legend, bathing in dragon blood bestows the person with invincible skin or armor.
6. The leaves grow only at the end of youngest branches!
As the tree grows, the branches shed their leaves permanently. The braches then integrate resulting in an umbrella-shaped crown. Only the youngest braches have leave on their ends. These leave last for 3 to 4 years, and then replaced with new leaves.
7. The tree blooms during February!
In February, the tree blooms producing small, fragrant, white or green-colored flowers. Its fruit is orange-colored small flashy berry. Birds eat these fruits and disperse its seed to places and thus facilitate in seed dispersal and pollination.
8. The sap of this tree is used in rituals!
There is this common belief that dragon tree is infused with dragon’s blood. Therefore, the sap is used in rituals. For instance, the neopagan witchcraft and new age shamanism use this sap to cast the spell and further strengthen it. Furthermore, the dragon’s blood is used to erase negative entities from a place.
9. Locals use the dragon’s blood for healing purpose!
The sap of this tree is known for its therapeutic and healing properties. Thus, the locals use it to cure diarrhea, fever, stomach ulcer as well as several diseases of mouth and intestines.
10. Dragon’s blood or the sap of tree has various uses!
The red sap or the dragon’s blood has been widely used in dyes and varnish since 18th
century. It was also used in preparation of toothpaste and glue for the pottery and is still used for various purposes. The sap is a source of red pigment for dyeing of wool.
These were some amazing and interesting facts about dragon’s blood tree. Share in comments if you know more such fun facts. Stay tuned for more exciting content.