You must already have heard that many countries have their own a plant symbol? For example, everyone will immediately imagine the Canadian leaf on the flag, and if we say tulip, we will be mentally transferred to the Netherlands. What to speak of sakura, even a baby knows that this plant is associated with Japan.

And would you name the region where the Dragon Tree ( or the Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands dragon tree or drago) become a national symbol of the country? Of course, this tree can be found in many regions. So you can see it in such Canary Islands as: Tenerife, Palme, Homer and Gran Canaria, as well as in such country as Yemen on the island of Socotra. These all species are slightly different.

Although for Yemen itself, the symbol of the country is a coffee tree (the tree originated in Ethiopia), since it is the very region that introduced the fashion for drinking coffee and then it has been spread all over the world. However, even the Yemen’s coin depicts a dragon tree not a coffee one.

A coin with a dragon tree depicted on it.

Its main value is in the “dragon’s blood”, which is extracted from this tree. The term “dragon’s blood” refers to all wood resins of various trees. This name was invented by many nations in different parts of the planet independently of each other, and it is all due to the saturated red color of the resin.

Cut of the Dracaena draco

If you travel with a guide around Socotra island or you have a tour in other places where this amazing tree grows, you will be told the legend about how a dragon drank the blood of young elephants, but once an old elephant fell off a cliff on it and killed the dragon, but the elephant died too, and their blood mixed up and a tree grew on this place.

And indeed, if you slightly cut the bark, then a red resin immediately will start to flow out. Surprisingly, but it is tasteless and odorless. The scope of application varies from food coloring (for example, wine) to various kinds of medications in traditional medicine (alternative medicine). Also in ancient times the tree was thought to be sacred.

Now such trees are growing at a long distance from each other, because the local livestock prevent them from seizing new territories, which feed on young shoots grown from seeds. It is also worth noting that the trees begin to bloom only in the 8th year, and even much later. And they do not bloom every year, but once in fourteen or seventeen years.

Another specific feature of the tree is that it grows all the time in width. Therefore, tree trunks are so thick and easily reach a width of 4-5 meters or more. And in height they can reach even more than 20 meters.

If you come across a very high Dragon tree on the road, be sure that this is very old tree, because they grow very slowly. The exact age of such trees is very difficult to determine, since they do not have annual growth rings on the trunk. However, chances are high that a shepherd or a warrior from the middle ages was sleeping under its brunches.

Unfortunately, in the European conditions this tree can not grow in the open air. The tree is very sensitive to cold, Dracaena draco can only survive 1 degree below zero.

Even in Socotra, these trees mainly grow in highlands. Therefore, in order to see these beautiful trees you should go deep into the island right to the Diksam Plateau. Also on this island you can see other unique plants that grow only here.

Without a doubt, you should see these wonderful trees with your own eyes, so be sure to add Socotra island in Yemen to your travel bucket list.

Socotra trees on the video

A dragon tree is also grown indoors, but if you do not want to spend time searching for dragon tree, you can simply buy an ordinary Dracaena tree in a pot and you will have a close relative of the tree at home. By the way, Dracaena in the ancient Greek language means a female dragon, so you will have your own pet dragon at home.