Common Names: Dragon's Blood Tree, Canary Islands Dragon Tree, Drago
Dracaena draco, the Dragon Tree, is from the Canary Islands. Only a few individuals can be found growing naturally, and these are mainly on the islands of Tenerife and La Palma, growing in dry bush at the low elevations of the islands' rocky mountain ranges. It's a Palm-like tree when young, evergreen, slowly growing to 3 to 10 meters tall.
When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin, one of the sources of the substance known as Dragon's blood, used to stain wood, such as of Stradivarius violins. It also has a number of traditional medicinal uses. The red resin was used in ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye. It continues to be employed for the aforementioned purposes by some. In American Hoodoo, African-American folk magic, and New Orleans voodoo, it is used in mojo hands for money-drawing or love-drawing, and is used as incense to cleanse a space of negative entities or influences. It is also added to red ink to make "Dragon's Blood Ink", which is used to inscribe magical seals and talismans. It was also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy.
The plant is related to Agave, and looks like one when young. At this stage it can be used as a houseplant. It slowly develops a thick trunk, making it look more like a Palm. The Dragon trees tend to stay unbranched for many years before expanding as a tree. It is the flowering that causes the stem to branch. Flowering may take 10-15 years to begin, after which the tree begins to branch, creating the much-divided crown so characteristic of specimens several decades old.
The bark is initially smooth and grey, becoming scaly as the tree ages. The numerous leaves at the ends of the stout branches are stiff but flexible.
They are grey-green in colour, 60cm long and 5cm wide with sharp pointed tips. The hundreds of small, fragrant, creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers are borne on a branched spike in early summer.
The genus name, Dracaena means female dragon. It is a genus of about 40 species of trees and succulent shrubs. To follow are some of the more popular Dracaena species. Dracaena Americana, Dracaena aletriformis, Dracaena arborea, Dracaena aubryana, Dracaena thalioides, Dracaena bicolor, Dracaena cincta, Dracaena cinnabari, Dracaena concinna, Dracaena draco, Dracaena elliptica, Dracaena fragrans, Dracaena goldieana, Dracaena hookeriana, Dracaena mannii, Dracaena marginata, Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia, Dracaena marmorata, Dracaena ombet, Dracaena phrynioides, Dracaena reflexa, Dracaena sanderiana, Dracaena serrulata, Dracaena surculosa, Dracaena tamaranae and Dracaena umbraculifera.