Dragon's blood trees are a distinctive and slow-growing species of dragon tree native to the Socotra archipelago off the horn of Africa. The famous red resin that gives it its name is exuded from the bark after wounding. The medicinal and colouring properties of this resin, and that from other dragon trees, was recorded by the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. It continues to be used in medicine, dyes, varnish and incense to this day.
Scientific name: Dracaena cinnabari
Socotra dragon tree
Extraordinary plants survive a harsh life in Socotra.
The true source of Dragon’s blood, is from a tree grown on the Socotra archipelago, south of the Arabian peninsula. The blood red sap has had many uses over time, from medicinal treatments to dyes and toothpaste and it is still used as a varnish for violins. Once widely distributed, the tree is now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. There are several possible reasons for its decline: overgrazing, loss of habitat through human encroachment, over-use of the tree for rope and traditional beehives, and changes in the climate of the archipelago as a whole.
The Dragon's blood tree can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Dragon's blood tree distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Year assessed: 2004
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
Not to be confused with Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands dragon tree, also found in nearby islands and western Morocco.
Dracaena cinnabari, the Socotra Dragon Tree or Dragon Blood Tree, is a Dragon Tree native to the Socotra archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is so called due to the red sap that the trees produce.
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