SOTW: Blood of the Dragon

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Greeting everybody. Since season 4 is upon us and with all the anticipation from the Game of Thrones viewers. We decided to alter the theme for our Species of the Week so here we present the Dragon’s Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari) which is also known as the Socotra Dragon Tree. The species has been named after the dark red resin found in the cracks and wounds in the bark of the tree, known as “Dragon’s Blood”.

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Habitat: Native to Socotra archipelago, off the coast of Yemen. 
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Characteristics: The tree has an umbrella shaped crown. Leaves can measure up to 60 centimeters long and 3 centimeters wide.

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Throughout history and even today, the red sap has/is used for a variety of purposes. Commonly it is used as medicine; to induce abortion; as a treatment for diarrhea, fever, ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach; as an antiseptic and is believed to contain antioxidant properties. Additionally it has been used in lipstick, wool dye, varnishes and plaster.

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Threats: Human activities such as tourism and a growing population is increasing pressure on the species of tree. Over harvesting of the sap is another potential threat to the dragon’s blood tree. Another contributor to the decline of the species is global climate change, as the aridity is increasing the trees are drying out, and even failing to flourish.

Conservation: Due to the Socotra archipelago’s unique flora and fauna, the archipelago has been entitled as a World Heritage site, a WWF global 200 Ecoregion, and a center of Plant Diversity and an Endemic Bird Area. The dragon’s blood tree itself has been given some protection from international commercial trade. Some recommended conservation measures include; limiting grazing pressure, creating tree nurseries, limiting new construction, watering and planting new seedlings with the help of local communities.

Well that was all for today, we leave you with a short video about the Socotra archipelago, ENJOY! We hope you've found our post interesting. See you soon. Until then why not leave a comment on what species you would like featured on the next species of the week.

Over and out.

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