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Yemen, Socotra: The Dragon Blood Tree


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.

Yemen_Socotra_`Adan, Diksam Plateau_dragon_tree_Blood tree_Photo twiga_swala_February 24, 2008_ Blood Dragon Trees, `Adan, Diksam Plateau, Socotra, Yemen. Photo twiga_swala, February 2008.

The local inhabitants of the city in the Socotra Island use the Dragon’s blood resin as a cure-all. They use it in general wound healing, as a coagulant, cure for diarrhea, for dysentery diseases, for lowering fevers.
It is also taken for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach.

Dragon's blood(Daemomorops draco) crushed ince...

Dragon's blood(Daemomorops draco) crushed incense and ground apothecary's or pigment grade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dragon’s blood of Dracaena cinnabari was used as a source of varnish for 18th century Italian violin-makers. It was also used as tooth-paste in the 18th century. It is currently still used as varnish for violins and for photoengraving.

Yemen_Socotra_dragon_tree_Blood tree__Photo Boris Khvostichenko_11 January 2008_ Boris Khvostichenko, January 2008.

One of the species’ greatest threats is the gradual drying out of the Socotra Archipelago, which has been an ongoing process for the last few hundred years. This has resulted in non flourishing trees, and the duration of the mist and cloud around the area seems to also be decreasing. Increasing arid environments is predicted to cause a 45 percent reduction in the available habitat for Dracaena cinnabari by the year 2080.

Additional threats to the dragon’s blood tree include harvesting of its resin and use of the leaves to make rope. Presently some of the dragon’s blood trees have been used to make beehives. This was generally prohibited; this displays how the species may be threatened by a breakdown in the traditional practices of the island.
Dracaena cinnabari

Socotra Island, Yemen_Egyptian Vulture in front of Dragon Blood Tree_Photo christophe_cerisier_February 1, 2011_ vulture in front of Dragon Blood Tree. Photo christophe_cerisier, February 2011.

The Socotra island was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world natural heritage site in July 2008. The European Union has supported such a move, calling on both UNESCO and International Organisation of Protecting Environment to classify the island archipelago among the environmental heritages.

Terra MODIS satellite image of Socotra Archipe...

Terra MODIS satellite image of Socotra Archipelago, Yemen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Socotra (Arabic: سُقُطْرَى‎ Suquṭra), also spelled Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet.
It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth.
The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) in width.[3]

Socotra is part of the Republic of Yemen. It had long been a part of the ‘Adan Governorate. In 2004, it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than ‘Adan (although the nearest governorate is Al Mahrah).
Socotra @ wiki


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