The Dragon blood tree is very unique and strange in appearance.
This tree is named dragon blood because of its dark red resin. The tree produces berries that contain seeds, when these berries are ripe they are orange in colour. The berries exude a deep red resin, known as dragon’s blood. The fruit takes about 5 months before it is completely ripe. This tree also flowers which grow at the end of the branches, they are white and in a cluster.
There are other species of trees that have some red resin, but the Dragon Blood Tree is known as the “true” dragon’s blood. This resin was used for a variety of things in History, and is still used in some places today. Main uses being dye, varnish, lipstick, and incense. In Ancient History it was very highly prized. There is a well known dragon’s blood resin produced in Indonesia, but this comes from the unripe fruit of the rattan, and is totally different from the “true” dragon’s blood.
The Dragon Blood Tree is native to Socotra, the Island is part of the Republic of Yemen. Socotra is 240kilometres (150 miles) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 Miles) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The Island is about 130km (80miles) long.
There is a lot of Ancient History associated with this Island which I think is really fascinating, the Island was mentioned in “The Travels of Marco Polo,” there was also some stone tools found on the Island, there is way too much History for me to go into, but for those that are interested have a look here in Wikipedia for all the information.
Socotra is unique in many different ways, a lot of the plant life on this Island is not found anywhere else in the world, as well as 90% of its reptiles. There are 192 species of birds, as well as numerous different species of fish, crab and lobster. The Island was listed as a World Natural Heritage site in July 2008. It was recognised by UNESCO, and supported by the European Union.
All the photo’s above are from Peter Franc’s personal photo collection of Socotra, Peter was kind enough to give me permission to use the photo’s in my blog. There are some fantastic photo’s there of this Island as well as larger versions of the photo’s above, it is well worth having a look at them. Peter Franc’s Socotra Island Photo’s.
Peter was also kind enough to give me permission to use his video that he took of Socotra Island as well.
After many years of wanting to visit, I made it in February 2010. It was incredible to say the least – mystical, beautiful and diverse. It had a deep, profound impact on me.
To share some of this experience, here’s a video of my time there. I’ll also be releasing a book of photographs and stories – stay tuned for details. Peter Franc.