Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dragon’s tree

One of the most famous Botanical curiosities of Socotra is the Dragon’s tree, the tree is so named because any injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid excreting from the scar – compared in the past to the “Blood of Dragons”Its fruits are small fleshy berries containing between 1 and 3 seeds. As they develop they turn from green to black and then become orange once they are ripe. The berries are eaten by birds and thereby dispersed. The seeds are between 4mm and 5mm in diameter and weigh on average 68 mg.The berries exude a deep red resin, known as dragon’s blood.

The dragon’s blood tree is given some protection from international commercial trade under the listing of all Dracaena species on Appendix II of CITES, but if its populations are to be effectively preserved, a variety of measures will need to be taken. These include urgent monitoring of the species’ natural regeneration and the expansion of Skund Nature Sanctuary to cover important areas of the habitats. Also, efforts on avoiding road construction in the dragon blood’s habitat, and limit grazing need to be brought to attention. Additional conservation efforts for the tree involve fencing against livestock, watering of seedlings in open areas, and involving local communities in planting seedlings.

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