Dracaena draco

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Dracaena draco
Dracaena draco.jpg
The ancient specimen at Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Dracaena
D. draco
Binomial name
Dracaena draco
(L.) L. [2]
  • Asparagus dracoL.

Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands dragon tree or drago, [3] is a subtropical tree in the genus Dracaena , native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira, and locally in western Morocco, and introduced to the Azores. It is the natural symbol of the island of Tenerife, together with the blue chaffinch. [4]


The subtropics are geographic and climate zones located roughly between the tropics at latitude 23.5° and temperate zones north and south of the Equator.

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

<i>Dracaena</i> (plant) genus of plants

Dracaena is a genus of about 120 species of trees and succulent shrubs. In the APG IV classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae. It has also formerly been separated into the family Dracaenaceae or placed in the Agavaceae.


Dracaena draco in Vila Nova Sintra, Island of Brava, Cape Verde VilaNovaSintraDragoeiro2.jpg
Dracaena draco in Vila Nova Sintra, Island of Brava, Cape Verde
Dragon tree in the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California Dragon Tree in the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California.JPG
Dragon tree in the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California


Dracaena draco is a monocot with a branching growth pattern currently placed in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoidae). [5] When young it has a single stem. At about 10–15 years of age the stem stops growing and produces a first flower spike with white, lily-like perfumed flowers, followed by coral berries. Soon a crown of terminal buds appears and the plant starts branching. Each branch grows for about 10–15 years and re-branches, so a mature plant has an umbrella-like habit. It grows slowly, requiring about ten years to reach 1.2 metres (4 ft) in height but can grow much faster. [6]

Asparagaceae family of plants

Asparagaceae is a family of flowering plants, placed in the order Asparagales of the monocots. Its best known member is Asparagus officinalis, garden asparagus.

Being a monocotyledon, it does not display any annual or growth rings so the age of the tree can only be estimated by the number of branching points before reaching the canopy. The specimen called "El Drago Milenario" (the thousand-year-old dragon) growing at Icod de los Vinos in northwest Tenerife is the oldest living plant of this species. Its age was estimated in 1975 to be around 250 years, with a maximum of 365 years, not several thousand as had previously been claimed. [7] It is also the largest D. draco tree alive. Its massive trunk comes from the contribution of clusters of aerial roots that emerge from the bases of lowest branches and grow down to the soil. Descending along the trunk, they cling tightly to the trunk, integrate with it and contribute to its radial growth. [8] There is considerable genetic variation within the Canary Island dragon trees. The form found on Gran Canaria is now treated as a separate species, Dracaena tamaranae , based on differences in flower structure. The form endemic to La Palma initially branches very low with numerous, nearly vertical branches arranged fastigately. There is a forest of such trees at Las Tricias, Garafia district, La Palma. [9] [10]

El Drago Milenario giant tree in Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife

El Drago, also known as Drago Milenario and Drago de Icod de los Vinos, is the oldest and largest living specimen of Dracaena draco, or dragon tree, in Parque del Drago, Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife, Spain. It is said to be a thousand years old, although the age is disputed. It is one of the symbols of Tenerife, and was declared a national monument in 1917.

Icod de los Vinos Municipality in Canary Islands, Spain

Icod de los Vinos is a municipality in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands (Spain), located in the northwest part of the island. Inhabitants of Icod are known in Spanish as "icodenses".

Gran Canaria Spanish island of the Canary Islands

Gran Canaria is the second most populous of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the Atlantic coast of Northwest Africa which is part of Spain. As of 2018 the island had a population of 846,717 that constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago.


When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin, one of several sources of substances known as dragon's blood. Red resins from this tree contain many mono- and dimeric flavans that contribute to the red color of the resins. [11] Dragon's blood has a number of traditional medical uses, although dragon's blood obtained from Dracaena draco was not known until the 15th century, [12] and analyses suggest that most dragon's blood used in art was obtained from species of the genus Daemonorops . [13] The primary and secondary plant body are the site of the secretory plant tissues that form dragon's blood. These tissues include ground parenchyma cells and cortex cells. [14] Dragon's blood from Dracaena draco and Dracaena cinnabari can be distinguished by differences in 10 compounds and a dominant flavonoid DrC11 missing in Dracaena draco. [13]

Resin solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin

In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic compounds. This article focuses on naturally-occurring resins.

Dragons blood painting implement

Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin has been in continuous use since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.

<i>Daemonorops</i> genus of plants

Daemonorops is a genus of rattan palms in the family Arecaceae found primarily in the tropics and subtropics of southeastern Asia with a few species extending into southern China and the Himalayas.

The Guanches worshiped a specimen in Tenerife, and hollowed its trunk into a small sanctuary. Humboldt saw it at the time of his visit. It was 70 feet (21 m) tall and 45 feet (14 m) in circumference, and was estimated to be 6000 years old. It was destroyed by a storm in 1868. [15]

Guanches aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands that are no longer exist as a distinct ethnicity

Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands. In 2017, the first genome-wide data from the Guanches confirmed a North African origin and that they were genetically most similar to modern North African Berber peoples of the nearby North African mainland. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago around 1000 BCE or perhaps earlier.

Sanctuary sacred place

A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.

Alexander von Humboldt Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer (1769–1859)

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835). Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography. Humboldt's advocacy of long-term systematic geophysical measurement laid the foundation for modern geomagnetic and meteorological monitoring.


Dracaena draco is cultivated and widely available as an ornamental tree for parks, gardens, and drought tolerant water conserving sustainable landscape projects. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. [16] [17]

Sustainable landscaping encompasses a variety of practices that have developed in response to environmental issues. These practices are used in every phase of landscaping, including design, construction, implementation and management of residential and commercial landscapes.

Royal Horticultural Society registered charity in the UK which promotes gardening and horticulture

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity.

Award of Garden Merit mark of quality awarded to garden plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society

The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is a long-established annual award for plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). It is based on assessment of the plants' performance under UK growing conditions.

See also


Related Research Articles

Canary Islands Archipelago in the Atlantic and autonomous community of Spain

The Canary Islands is a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canary Islands, which are also known informally as the Canaries, are among the outermost regions (OMR) of the European Union proper. It is also one of the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such by the Spanish Government. The Canary Islands belong to the African Plate like the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the two on the African mainland.

<i>Pinus canariensis</i> species of plant

Pinus canariensis, the Canary Island pine, is a species of gymnosperm in the conifer family Pinaceae. It is a large, evergreen tree native and endemic to the outer Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a subtropical pine and does not tolerate low temperatures or hard frost, surviving temperatures down to about −6 to −10 °C. Within its natural area, it grows under extremely variable rainfall regimes, from less than 300 mm (12 in) to several thousands, mostly due to differences in mist-capturing by the foliage. Under warm conditions, this is one of the most drought-tolerant pines, living even with less than 200 mm (7.9 in) of rainfall per year. It is the vegetable symbol of the island of La Palma.

<i>Xanthorrhoea</i> genus of plants

Xanthorrhoea is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants endemic to Australia.

<i>Samanea saman</i> species of plant

Samanea saman, also sometimes known as the rain tree, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, now in the Mimosoid clade and is native to the Central and South America. Its range extends from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil, but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Common names include saman, rain tree and monkeypod. It is often placed in the genus Samanea, which by yet other authors is subsumed in Albizia entirely.

<i>Dracaena reflexa</i> species of plant

Dracaena reflexa is a tree native to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, and other nearby islands of the Indian Ocean. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant and houseplant, valued for its richly coloured, evergreen leaves, and thick, irregular stems.

<i>Juniperus cedrus</i> species of plant

Juniperus cedrus, the Canary Islands juniper, is a species of juniper, native to the western Canary Islands and Madeira, where it occurs at altitudes of 500–2400 m. It is closely related to Juniperus oxycedrus of the Mediterranean region and Juniperus brevifolia of the Azores.

<i>Ceropegia dichotoma</i> species of plant

Ceropegia dichotoma is a flowering plant in the genus Ceropegia (Apocynaceae). It is endemic to the Canary Islands, where it grows on Tenerife, El Hierro, La Gomera, and La Palma in the Tabaibal-Cardonal zone at up to about 600 m altitude. It was first described in 1812.

Gibraltar Botanic Gardens botanical garden in Gibraltar

The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens or La Alameda Gardens are a botanical garden in Gibraltar, spanning around 6 hectares. The Rock Hotel lies above the park.

<i>Dracaena cinnabari</i> species of plant

Dracaena cinnabari, the Socotra dragon tree or dragon blood tree, is a dragon tree native to the Socotra archipelago, part of Yemen, located in the Arabian Sea. It is so called due to the red sap that the trees produce.

<i>Bystropogon</i> genus of plants

Bystropogon is a genus of evergreen shrubs in the Lamiaceae. It is native to the Canary Islands and Madeira in the western Atlantic Ocean. Allied to the Origanum and Thymus, the genus is characterized by tiny flowers in much-branched clusters, with plume-like sepals that elongate at the fruiting stage, giving the whole tip of each branch a fuzzy appearance. Stems are square in cross-section and leaves, arranged in opposite pairs, are aromatic when crushed.

<i>Dracaena aletriformis</i> species of plant

Dracaena aletriformis is commonly known as the large-leaved dragon tree. These plants are found in forest in the eastern areas of South Africa from Port Elizabeth to northern and eastern Gauteng. They are also found in Swaziland, but are most common in the coastal and dune forests of KwaZulu-Natal.

<i>Dracaena kaweesakii</i> species of plant

Dracaena kaweesakii is a species of dragon tree. It can reach 12 metres (39 ft) in both height and crown diameter. It is only found growing atop the limestone mountains in the Loei and the Lop Buri Provinces of Thailand.

<i>Pandanus odorifer</i> species of plant

Pandanus odorifer is an aromatic monocot species of plant in the Pandanaceae family, native to Polynesia, Australia, South Asia, and the Philippines, and is also found wild in southern India and Burma. It is commonly known as screw-pine.

Dragon's blood tree is a common name for several plants and may refer to:

<i>Aeonium sedifolium</i> species of plant

Aeonium sedifolium is a perennial plant of the family of succulents (Crassulaceae). The plant is native to the western islands Tenerife, La Gomera and La Palma in the Canary Islands.

Parque del Drago

Drago Park is a park and one of the main visitor attractions in Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife. Created at the turn of the millennium, it contains El Drago Milenario, a dragon tree thought to be around 1,000 years old, as well as a variety of other native plants.


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