Asparagus draco L.
Draco arbor Garsault
Draco draco (L.) Linding
Draco dragonalis Crantz
Drakaina draco (L.) Raf.
Palma draco (L.) Mill.
Stoerkia draco (L.) Crantz
Yucca draco (L.) Carrière
Common Name: Dragon Tree
Trees growing on the Canary Islands
Photograph by: brewbooks
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Dracaena draco is a very slow-growing, evergreen tree that can eventually reach a height of around 10 metres[
]. It grows without branching in the early years of its life until it first produces a terminal inflorescence[
]. Eventually it produces a domed, spreading head of regular branches[
The tree is often harvested from the wild, and also sometimes cultivated, for its resin, called dragon's blood, which is traded internationally as a medicine[
Although widespread in cultivation, the species is classified in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(1998) as 'Vulnerable' in the wild where populations have been in decline for a long time[
]. At least one reason for the decline is the over-exploitation of the tree as a source of a medicinal resin[
N. Africa - Morocco to the Canaries, Madeira and Cape Verde Islands.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Dracaena draco is found in areas with seasonally arid climates where the average annual precipitation is 200 - 500mm and the mean annual temperature is 18 - 20°c[
]. A plant of the drier subtropics, it is also grown in tropical areas[
A slow-growing but long-lived species it commences flowering when about 30 years old[
]. Trees can regularly live for 600 years or more - a specimen 21 metres tall was estimated to be 6,000 years old[
This species is one of several that supply a red resin from their stem. This resin, often known as 'Dragon's Blood' is often used as an external application to treat a range of skin problems and injuries[
]. Dragon's Blood can be obtained from several species in this genus, as well as from three other distinct genera - Croton species, Daemonorops species and Pterocarpus species[
The resin, the so-called 'dragon's blood', is used as a folk medicine and fumigating agent[
The plant is cultivated in various tropical regions as a supporter for Vanilla plants[
The red resin has a wide range of uses: as a varnish; for staining wood in items such as violins; for embalming the dead etc[
Cuttings. Dracaena species are generally easy to propagate. Only a small piece of the plant is required to form a new plant, and even when thrown away it may easily root[
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