The mysterious and alluring Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari) or Suji Socotra is a rare and unusual tree species native to the Socotra archipelago, part of Yemen.
The trees that “bleed” red rasin
The tree gets its name from the dark red sap it produces within its umbrella-shaped branches. The red resin, which oozes from cracks in the bark, bares eery resemblance to dragon blood.
Socotrans inhabitants identify the trees as Damm Al-Akhwayn, which in Arabic translates to “the blood of two brothers.” Farmers carve and intentionally bleed the crimson-colored sap to sell it as medicinal balm and lipstick, and paint, but it’s also employed as a dye to varnish violins.
The resin was even used as toothpaste in the 18th century and was believed to have magical properties in ancient times.
Trees found nowhere else on the planet
The 30-foot trees, remote to the Haghir Mountains of Socotra, play a part in one-third of Socotra’s 825 plant species endemic to the island. They can live up to 600 years.
Additionally, 90 percent of the island’s reptiles and 95 percent of its snail species are found nowhere else on Earth. Sustained international conservation efforts have also helped preserve the land’s rich biodiversity
Most of the 50,000 people living in Socotra are indigenous Soqotri people from the Al-Mahrah tribe. But the island, pitted in the Indian Ocean, once served as a popular port and trading base for the British in the 1800s.
It was Scottish botanist Isaac Bayley who first described the otherworldly Dragon Blood Trees in 1882.