Dracaena dracona, also known as dragon tree, is a plant surrounded by mystery and lore. Its name comes from its red sap, which in the past was mistaken for the blood of mythical creatures. This tree grows in the Canary Islands, tropical areas of Africa, Australia and the islands of Southeast Asia.
There are several legends associated with the dragon tree. One of them tells of a mighty dragon that lived on the island of Socotra and attacked elephants, drinking their blood. One day, however, an elephant fell on the dragon and crushed it. Combining, the blood of both creatures spilled onto the ground and stained it scarlet. The tree has since become known as the dragon tree, and its resin is referred to by locals as “the blood of two brothers” (source: National Geographic).
Another legend tells of how people slayed dragons to obtain the essence of eternal life from their blood. However, their efforts were in vain, as the hard-won dragon blood did not bring happiness. The last dragon was killed, but instead of a heart, a tree grew from its torn chest, its roots resembling veins, and the essence of eternal life flowed in its trunk (source: The Spruce).
The history of the dracaena is also rich in scientific discoveries. Medieval scholars categorized the tree as a half-animal half-plant, assuming that its red sap was actual blood. This allowed dragon’s blood to be used for medicinal purposes and in magical rituals (source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac).
The life cycle of the dracaena tree can be divided into three periods: youth, maturity and old age. In youth, the tree grows for up to thirty years, followed by a period of maturity when it begins to bear fruit. Old age can last several hundred years, and it is during this period that the dracaena begins to secrete red resin, which is considered one of the oldest medicines on Earth (source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac).
“Dragon’s blood” was widely used by people to treat wounds and tumors, as well as in religious and magical rituals. It was used as far back as ancient Egypt and the Orient. Archaeologists discovered the solidified resin during excavations of prehistoric human settlements (source: National Geographic).
The adult dracaena tree is an impressive sight: tangled roots, a thick trunk and a crown of many shoots with sharp leaves. Locals use these leaves to make brushes. The hollows in the dracaena tree are considered sacred and are used for altars and ceremonies (source: The Spruce).
One of the oldest dracaenas is the one that grows on the coast of Tenerife in the town of Icod de Los Vinos. It is estimated to be four hundred years old and was declared a natural monument back in 1917. The hollow inside the tree and the girth of its trunk is 15 meters. This tree was discovered in 1402 (source: National Geographic).
The dragon tree is not only an object of legends and legends, but also a real symbol of nature, which continues to surprise and delight people with its beauty and healing properties. It is a plant that attracts attention with its uniqueness and mystery.