Socotra dragons blood tree

Scientific Name: Dracaena cinnabari

Description

Dragon blood tree is unique in its appearance. It has an “upturned, densely-packed crown with the shape of an umbrella.” This evergreen species was named for its dark red resin, also known as “dragon’s blood”. Dracaena has secondary growth, unlike most monocot plants. Cinnabari has growth zones that resemble tree rings in dicot tree species.

Along with other Dracaena species, it also has a unique growth habit known as “dracoid Habitus”. Its leaf ends are at the very end of its youngest branches. New leaves are shed approximately every 3 to 4 years. When the terminal bud’s growth is stopped due to flowering or other traumatic events (e.g. herbivory).

The fruits of this berry are small, fleshy berries that contain between 1 and 4 seeds. They turn from green to dark brown as they mature and then turn orange when they are ripe. Birds eat the berries (e.g. Onychognatus species) and are thereby dispersed. The seeds measure 4-5mm in diameter and average 68mg.

The dragon’s blood tree, like other monocotyledons such as palms, grows at the tip of its stem with long stiff leaves that are borne in dense rosettes at their ends (4, 5, 7, 8). The umbrella-shaped crown is formed when the tree branches at maturity. It has leaves up to 60cm long and 3cm wide. The dragon blood’s trunk and branches are strong and sturdy. They exhibit dichotomous branching where each branch divides into two sections.

Biology

Although the dragon’s blood tree typically produces its flowers in March, flowering can vary depending on where you live. The flowers grow near the ends of the branches. Inflorescences are small clusters of white or green flowers that grow on the plants. It takes five months for the fruits to fully mature.

The fleshy berry is described as a fleshy fruit that gradually turns from green to black as it ripens. The fleshy berry fruit is orange-red in colour and contains one to three seeds. Birds and other animals eat the berries.

Socotra dragons blood tree

The unique shape of the dragon’s blood tree is an adaptation to survive in dry conditions, such as on mountaintops. The dense crown, which provides shade and decreases evaporation, is large and packed. This shade also aids in the survival of seedlings growing beneath the adult tree, explaining why the trees tend to grow closer together.

Taxonomy

The first occurrence of The Dragons Blood Tree was discovered during an 1835 survey of Socotra by Lieutenant Wellsted, East India Company. It was the first to be named Pterocarpus Draco. However, in 1880, Isaac Bayley Balfour, a Scottish botanist, made a formal description and renamed the species as Dracaena cinnabari. Between 60 and 100 Dracaena species, it is one of six species that can be grown as a tree.

Evolution

D., along with other plants on Socotra. D. It is considered a remnant of the Mio-Pliocene Laurasian subtropical forests that are now almost extinct due to the extensive desertification of North Africa.

Socotra island in yemen

Conservation

Threats

Despite the fact that most of its natural habitats are intact, there is a growing population due to industrial and tourist development. The process of logging and woodcutting, as well as infrastructure for development plans, is increasing the pressure on the vegetation. Despite being a large tree, the dragon’s blood tree has been fragmented by the rapid development in its habitats.

Poor regeneration is causing many of its population to suffer. Overgrazing and feeding the animals with fruits and flowers has greatly reduced the dragon’s blood supply. The gradual drying out of the Socotra Archipelago has been a constant process over the past few hundred years.

The area is now home to non-flourishing plants, and the cloud and mist around it seem to be decreasing in duration. The habitat available for the Dragon’s Blood Tree is expected to decrease by 45 per cent due to increasing aridity.

The dragon’s blood tree is also at risk from being harvested for its resin and used to make rope. Some of the dragon’s tree blood have been used to make honey beehives. This was prohibited. It shows how endangered the species could be if the traditional practices are not maintained.

D. is the largest and best-preserved stand. The limestone plateau Rokeb di Firmihin is home to cinnabari. The forest covers approximately 540 hectares (1.300 acres). It is home to many rare and endangered species. Research shows that in the coming decades, the number of trees in this forest will decrease due to the lack of natural regeneration.

Management

The Socotra Archipelago’s unique fauna and flora are listed as a World Heritage Site. It also counts as a Global 200 Ecoregion. It is also a Centre of Plant Diversity and an Endemic bird area. It is also located in the Horn of Africa biodiversity hotspot.

Multiple efforts are underway to create and sustain a sustainable habitat on Socotra and manage biodiversity. The island’s dragon’s blood tree is a valuable species that can be used for both commodity and conservation. An umbrella species includes the dragon’s blood.

This is a species chosen for conservation-related decisions. Typically, protecting these species indirectly protects many other species that make the ecological community of its habitat. Because it can be difficult to assess the status of many species, species conservation can be subjective. The protection of the blood of dragons would benefit other animals and plants in the region.

Although the dragon’s blood tree is protected from international commercial trading under the Appendix II listing of all Dracaena species (3), it will still need to be maintained in its natural habitat. This includes urgent monitoring of the species’ natural recovery and expansion of Skund Nature Sanctuary in order to protect important habitat areas.

It is important to limit grazing and avoid road construction within the habitat of dragon blood. Other conservation measures for the tree include fencing against livestock, watering seedlings in open areas, as well as involving local communities with seedling planting.

The dragon blood tree native to the island of socotra which gets its name from the red sap it bleeds when cut

Uses

Dragon’s blood is used as a stimulant and abortifacient. The root yields a gum-resin, used in gargle water as a stimulant, astringent and in toothpaste. The root is used in rheumatism. The leaves are a carminative.

You can harvest the trees for their crimson-red resin, known as dragon’s blood. This was highly valued in ancient times and is still being used today. It is used in the Mediterranean basin as a dye, as well as as a medicine. Socotrans use it to dye wool, glue pottery, make lipstick, and as an ornamental substance.

It is believed to be the blood of the dragon and is used in ritual magic and alchemy. Cinnabari is believed to be the original source for dragon’s blood until the medieval and Renaissance periods when other plants were substituted.

The Socotra Island residents use dragon’s blood resin to treat their ailments. It is used by the Romans, Greeks, and Arabs to heal wounds, as well as for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, and for lowering fevers. It is also taken for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach.

Dragon’s blood, D. Cinnabari was used to make varnish for 18th-century Italian violin-makers. It was also used in 18th-century toothpaste. It is still used for varnishing violins and photoengraving. It is still used as a varnish for violins and photoengraving.

People Also Ask

Is the dragon blood tree dangerous?

The resin from the Socotra Dragon tree. It may be safe when used in small amounts. It has been used medicinally for many years, although it is not known if this is the case. There are no known side effects. However, I have yet to find any scientific evidence that it is safe or effective in treating health problems.

What is the minimum requirement for a dragon blood tree to survive?

The dragon’s blood tree has an unusual shape, which is an adaptation to survival and Dry conditions that require low soil content. You can find them in the mountains. The dense crown, which is packed tightly, provides shade and helps to reduce evaporation.

Can you grow dracaena Cinnabari?

Growing Dracaena Cinnabari

Scientists discovered that dragon blood trees are more than 500 years old in nature. They can withstand low-soil conditions and monsoons. It will take about a month to fully mature. You will be able to see the seeds grow. Find out How to Grow Dracaena Cinnabari From Seed here.

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Socotra Island, Yemen

Socotra Or Soqotra lies between the Guardafui Channel, the Arabian Sea, and the largest of four islands in the Socotra archipelago. It is located near major shipping routes. The territory was previously a subdivision of the Aden Governorate.

It was annexed to Hadhramaut Governorate in 2004, which is closer to the island than Aden. However, the Al Mahrah Governorate was closest to it. 2013 saw the creation of Socotra Governorate, an archipelago governorate.

The Socotra archipelago’s island, Socotra, makes up 95% of its landmass. It is located 380 km (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. It measures 132 kilometres (82 miles) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 miles) wide. One-third of the island’s plant life is endemic. It is known as the “most alien-looking spot on Earth”.

Dragon blood trees in socotra island yemen
Dragon blood trees in socotra island, yemen

Etymology

Socotra is a Greek name derived from the name of a South Arabian tribe mentioned in Sabaic and Hadramitic inscriptions as Dhu-Sakurid (S3krd).

Histories

In Socotra, there was originally an Oldowan-lithic culture. V.A. found Oldowan stone tools in the Hadibo area. Zhukov was a member of the Russian Complex Expedition in 2008.


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Dioskouridou (Dioskouridou-nesos) is the name of Socotra. This Periplus was a 1st century A.D. Greek navigation aid. It refers to “the island of Dioscuri” in Periplus of Erythraean Sea. A.D.A recent discovery of texts in several languages, including a wooden tablet in Palmyrene dated to the 3rd century A.D., indicate the diverse origins of those who used Socotra as a trading base in antiquity.

A group of Belgian speleologists from the Socotra Karst Project explored a cave in Socotra in 2001. They found a lot of drawings, inscriptions and archaeological objects. Most of the texts were written in Indian Brahmi script. Still, there are also inscriptions in South Arabian and Ethipic scripts and languages. This corpus of nearly 250 texts and drawings constitutes one of the primary sources for investigating Indian Ocean trade networks in that time period.

Local tradition, which is based on Thomas’s 3rd century apocryphal Acts, states that the local inhabitants were converted to Christianity in 52 A.D. by Thomas the Apostle. An expeditionary force from Ethiopia conquered the island in 880. A bishop of the Oriental Orthodox Church was then consecrated. Later, an armada from Imam Al-Salt Bin Malik of Oman dislodged the Ethiopians.

The 10th century saw the Arab geographer Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hamdani report that most of the island’s inhabitants were Christians at the time. The Travels and Adventures of Marco Polo also mention Socotra. Marco Polo didn’t visit the island but reported that the inhabitants were baptised Christians. He further stated that the archbishop, who lives in Baghdad, has nothing to do with Pope Francis. They were Oriental Orthodox but also practised ancient magic rituals despite the warnings of their archbishop.

Haggier mountains socotra yemen
Haggier mountains, socotra, yemen

A Portuguese fleet led by Tristao da Cunha and Afonso da Albuquerque arrived at Suq’s capital in 1507 and took the port. They wanted to establish a base at a strategic location on the route to India and to free the presumptive friendly Christians from Islamic control. Tomas Fernandes, an architect, began to build a fortress in Suq.Forte de Sao Miguel de Socotora. A lack of wintering facilities in a suitable harbour led to many Portuguese ships being lost. The most significant of these was the Santo Antonio Galleon under Captain Manuel Pais da Veiga. Infertility in the land caused famine and sickness among the garrison. The Portuguese left the island in 1511.

In 1511, Socotra was under the control of Mahra sultans. The inhabitants converted to Islam during their rule. Captain de la Garde-Jazier was a French commander who headed for Mocha in 1737. He was shocked to discover Christian tribes in Socotra’s interior during his five-week stay on the island. He reported that the tribesmen had “due lack of missionaries only retained a faint understanding of Christianity in a letter to his family.”

The East India Company established a garrison at Socotra in 1834. This was in the hope that Qishn, Qishn’s Mahra sultan, and Socotra would agree to sell the island. British and Portuguese found the lack of anchorages to be a problem. There was no place for a coaling station that could be used by the steamship line along the Suez-Bombay route. The British fled in 1835 after the Sultan refused to sell. They lost all interest in Socotra after the British captured Aden in 1839.

The Sultan made a pledge to his heirs, successors, and to never cede, sell, mortgage or give up any other occupation except to the British Government, Socotra, and its dependencies. He also pledged to help any European vessel wrecked on the island and protect the crew, passengers, and cargo in return for a suitable reward. The P&O ship Aden was sunk on a reef close to Socotra in 1897. It claimed the lives of 78 people. The Sultan was reminded that some of the cargo had been stolen by islanders and that he must fulfil his obligations under the 1876 agreement.

Desert rose
Desert rose

From December 17 1896, until February 12 1897, the British explorers Theodore and Mabel Bent visited the island following the botanical visits of Bayley Balfour and Schweinfurth in the early 1880s. Ernest Bennett, a young Englishman, was their guide.

The British left Aden and southern Arabia in October 1967. In the aftermath, the Mahra Sultanate and other states of the ex-Aden Protectorate, were disbanded. Socotra was made part of South Yemen on November 30 1967. Because of South Yemen’s attitude to the Soviet Union, the Soviet Navy used the archipelago to supply and support its operations in the Indian Ocean from 1971 to 1985.

It has been part of Yemen since the 1990’s Yemeni unification.

2015 saw Socotra’s infrastructure, roads, homes, and power destruction by cyclone Chapala (and cyclone Megh). Because of the combined impacts of Chapala & Megh on Socotra, 43 planes carrying supplies from the Gulf Cooperation Council sent supplies to the island.

The United Arab Emirates increased the supplies that were delivered to Socotra in 2016. This was a significant increase from the previous year’s low supply. The 31st cargo plane carrying two tons of aid landed at Socotra Airport in October 2016.

In 2017, some Yemeni political factions accused the United Arab Emirates of looting, claiming that Emirati forces had ravaged the island’s flora.

The local Southern Transitional Council leadership of the archipelago affirmed their support for STC during Hadi fighting in the area around Aden on January 29, 2018.

As part of ongoing Saudi-led intervention, the United Arab Emirates landed troops on Socotra Island on April 30, 2018. A deal was made between Yemen and the United Arab Emirates for a joint military exercise and the return to Yemeni control of Socotra Airport. In May 2019, the Yemeni government claimed that the United Arab Emirates had landed around 100 rebel troops in Socotra. This accusation deepened a rift between these two nominal allies in Yemen’s civil war.

A regiment of the Yemeni Army stationed at Socotra rebelled in February 2020 and pledged allegiance to the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council. In June 2020, the Southern Transitional Council took control of the island.

Socotra airport window

The UAE sent military personnel to the island on March 2 2021. The Emirates sent a ship with ammunition to Socotra militias around the same time. Confirming the information, an adviser to Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Iryani, Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, said it was a set up of military escalation in the region.

Climate and geography

Halah Cave is located east of the island and is several hundred meters deep. It’s also completely dark. The stalagmites are larger than the man holding the torch at 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).

Socotra is one the most isolated landforms of continental origin (i.e. Not of volcanic origin. The archipelago was once part of the supercontinent of Gondwana and detached during the Miocene epoch, in the same set of rifting events that opened the Gulf of Aden to its northwest.

The archipelago includes the main island of Socotra (33,665 km2 or 1,415 square mi), three smaller islands, Samhah, Samhah, and Darsa. Small rock outcrops such as Ka’l Fir’awn, Sabuniyah, and Sabuniyah are important for seabirds but unsuitable for humans.

Socotra’s climate is classified by the Koppen climate classification BWh or BSh. This means that it has a tropical, desert climate bordering a semi-desert environment with an average annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees F). Although the annual rainfall is very light, it is quite widespread throughout the year.

Due to the orographic lift provided by the interior mountains, especially during the northeast monsoon from October to December, the highest inland areas can average as much as 800 millimetres (31.50 in) per year and receive over 250 millimetres (9.84 in) in a month during November and December. The southwest monsoon season from June to September brings strong winds and high seas.

The Gujarati sailors know the maritime route to Socotra as “Sikotro Sinh” (meaning the lion of Socotra that roars constantly) for centuries. In an unusual event, Socotra’s normally dry western side received more than 410 millimetres (16.14 inches) of rain from Cyclone Chapala during November 2015.

Dixam plateau
Dixam plateau

Flora and fauna

Socotra is the jewel of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea. A team of United Nations biologists carried out a survey of the archipelago’s fauna and flora in the 1990s. Nearly 700 species were identified as endemic, which is rare elsewhere on the planet. Only New Zealand, Hawaii, New Caledonia and the Galapagos Islands had higher numbers.

Its long geological isolation and extreme heat and drought have created a remarkable endemic flora. Botanical field studies by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants (part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh) have shown that 337 of the 825 Socotra plant species are endemic.

The dragon’s blood tree ( Dracaena Cinnabari) is one of Socotra’s most distinctive plants. It is an unusual-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Its red sap was thought to be the dragon’s blood of the ancients, sought after as a dye, and today used as paint and varnish.

Also important in ancient times were Socotra’s various endemic aloes, used medicinally and for cosmetics. Other endemic plants include Dorstenia gigas, a giant succulent tree; Dendrosicyos socotranus, a cucumber tree; and the rare Socotran penegranate (Punica protopunica), Aloe perryi and Boswellia socotrana.

It also boasts a diverse fauna that includes several endemic species such as the Socotra starling, Nectarinia Balfouri, Socotra bunting, Socotra cisticola, Cisticola haesitatus, Socotra sparrow, Passer insularis, and the Socotra golden-winged grosbeak, Rhynchostruthus socotranus. All native species are endemic if you exclude Hemidactylus robustus (and Hemidactylus flaviviridis), which were introduced recently.

Both species have a high degree of endemism (29 out of 31, 94%) and genus levels (5 out of 12, 42%). Endemism may be higher at the species level as phylogenetic studies reveal substantial hidden diversity. Many endemic invertebrates are found, including many spiders (such the Socotra Island Blue Baboon Tarantula Monocentropus Balfouri), three freshwater crab species in the Potamidae and two species of Socotrapotamon.

Socotra is home to bats, as with other isolated islands. Contrary to this, Socotra’s coral reefs are rich in endemic species.  Socotra is home to the brush-footed butterfly Bicyclus anana.

Be d a c

The environment has changed over the two thousand year history of human settlements on the islands. Jonathan Kingdon says that only a fraction of the former inhabitants is still alive. According to the Erythraean Sea’s First Century A.D. Periplus, the island was home to large lizards and crocodiles. The current reptile fauna seems to have been greatly reduced since then.

There were rivers, wetlands, more endemic trees and plenty of pasture on the island up until a few centuries ago. In the 17th century, the Portuguese noted the presence of water buffaloes. Now there are sand gullies in place of rivers, and many native plants survive only where there is greater moisture or protection from roaming livestock. The remaining Socotran fauna is greatly threatened by goats and other introduced species.

Due to the 2015 Yemen civil War in mainland Yemen, Socotra was economically isolated, and fuel gas prices rose, forcing residents to use wood as heat. To reduce deforestation due to the removal of trees for fuel, Socotra residents received cooking gas from UAE in December 2018.

Recognised by UNESCO

In July 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognised the island as a world nature heritage site. The European Union has supported such a move, calling on both UNESCO and the International Organisation of Protecting Environment to classify the island archipelago among the major environmental heritages.

Island of Poets

Socotra has a unique natural heritage. Al-Mahrah spoke the Semitic language Soqotri in Socotra. Still, it is also related to other Modern South Arabian languages, including Harsusi and Bathari. It also contains archaic linguistic vestiges, including Aramaic. This was the subject of European academic research in the nineteenth century.

Demographics

The majority of the residents are Soqotri native Soqotri peoples from Al-Mahrah Tribe. They are said to be closely related to the Qara and Mahra families of Southern Arabia.

Nearly all Socotra’s inhabitants, approximately 50,000, reside on the main island.

Religion

The islanders followed the indigenous religions of the time until 52 A.D., when they were told that Thomas the Apostle was on his way to India to preach Christianity. Nestorius, the Archbishop from Constantinople, was excommunicated later for heresies. The Socotrans remained loyal to his teachings and joined the Assyrian church. During the 10th century, Arab geographer Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hamdani recorded that most of the islanders were Christian during his visits.

In his travelogue, Marco Polo wrote:

I swear by the island’s enchanters. The archbishop is not a fan of these enchantments and has rebuked them for their practice. This has no effect as they claim that their forefathers used these enchantments.

The decline of Christianity in Socotra was caused by the Mahra sultanate taking power in the 16th century. There were also a few Christian tombs and cross engravings left from the 1st Century A.D.

Dogub cave
Dogub cave

Administrative divisions

Two districts were previously created by the archipelago in the Hadhramaut Governorate.

  • The district of Hadibu has a population of 32,285; it also has a district seat at Hadibu. It consists of eastern two-thirds, the main island of Socotra.
  • The Qalansiyah wa-al-Kuri district has a population of 10,557. A district office at Qalansiyah is home to the Qalansiyah district. It consists of minor islands in the archipelago, including the island of Abd-al-Kuri, the most prominent among them, and the western third is the main island.

However, in 2013, the archipelago was removed by the Hadramaut Governorate. Instead, a new governorate (Socotra Governorate) was created. It consists of the two districts mentioned above.

Economy

People of Socotra used to be primarily involved in fishing, animal husbandry, date cultivation, and other activities.

The archipelago was inaccessible between June and September every year for many years due to monsoons. However, Socotra was opened to the outside world in July 1999 by a new airport. Regular service was provided to Sana’a and Aden until the civil war of 2015. All commercial flights scheduled to fly made a stop at RiyanMukalla Airport.

Socotra Airport is located about 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) west of the main city, Hadibu, and close to the third-largest town in the archipelago, Qadub. Diesel generators make electricity widely available in Socotra. The north shore runs from Qulansiyah, Hadibu, and then to DiHamri. Another road runs from the northern coast south through the Dixsam Plateau.

Based on 2012 and 2014 sources, the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threat Project found that a naval infantry regiment was stationed at Socotra at the same time.

A few residents also raise goats and cattle.

At the end of the 1990s, a United Nations Development Program was launched to provide a close survey of the island of Socotra. The project called Socotra Governance and Biodiversity Project have listed the following goals from 2009:

  • Support for local governance
  • Implementation and development of mainstreaming tools
  • Supporting advocacy by non-governmental organisations
  • Local people benefit from the direction of biodiversity conservation
  • Training of professionals and support for the fisheries industry

The Economist magazine reported in February 2014 that Socotra was being considered for the Yemeni Jihadist Rehabilitation Program.

Socotra is home to the polling and lottery distribution company Socotra Lottery Solutions.

View of palms
View of palms

Transport

Socotra’s public transport is limited to a handful of minibuses. Car hire typically means hiring a 4WD vehicle and a driver.

Socotra’s transport is delicate as road construction is seen locally as a threat to the island and its ecology. In particular, the damage has occurred via chemical pollution from road construction, while new roads have resulted in habitat fragmentation.

The nearest port to Socotra lies 5 km (3.1 mi) east of Hadibu. The port is connected to Mukalla, a Yemeni coastal town. According to the ports, the trip takes around two days. The service is mostly used for cargo.

A 2003 U.S. diplomatic cable noted that Iranian companies had completed several projects in Yemen.

Felix Airways and Yemenia flew from Socotra Airport via Riyan Airport to Sana’a, Aden and Sana’a. As of March 2015, due to the ongoing civil war involving Saudi Arabia’s Air Force, all flights to and from Socotra have been cancelled.

However, during the deployment of Emirati troops and aid to the island, multiple flight connections were made between Abu Dhabi and Hadibu as part of the Emirati effort to provide Socotra residents with access to free healthcare and provide work opportunities.

Tourism

The Socotra airport was constructed in 1999. The island was only accessible by cargo ships before the construction of this small airport. From October to April is the best time to visit Socotra Island. The Yemeni Civil War began in 2015. The island was visited by over 1000 tourists every year from 2014 to 2014.

As many tour operators offer trips to the island, tourism to the island has increased in recent years. Gulf Today stated that the island would be a “dream destination” despite the conflict. Mukhar Al Rahbi, an advisor to the Ministry of Information, stated in May 2021 that the UAE was violating the island’s sovereignty and had been planning to do so for many years. It organises illegal travels for foreign tourists without obtaining permission from the Yemeni government.

See more images of Socotra Island on Google

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