Showing posts with label DRAGON TREES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DRAGON TREES. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dragon Trees

Dragon Trees-
Good Evening my dearest friends and followers, I thought since I have the blog fixed I should be able to post again. And for my first one after my horrible brush with almost losing my blog I though I would tell you about this most interesting tree that I found about a week ago. Its called the 'Dragon Tree of Scotra'. I never new that there was a tree even called 'Dragon Tree'. So when I saw this I just had to share with you all. It isn't you typical Tree & its only known to be on the island of Socotra in the country of Yemen where it lives within its remnants of prehistoric called 'Dragonsblood' forest on the granite mountains and limestone plateaus. This special Dragon Tree has a long historical background to it too!
First a bit of history of the island and the Dragon Trees'! The island of Socotra' is at least 34-million-years old+ which is separate from the mainland of the Arabia which has given rise to a unique flora - which is 37% of its plants species that are found nowhere else in the world. This is one of the good points, that the Dragon Tree is protected by a island that is separated from the world. However, there are problems to that too! Even with the wonderful environment that the monsoon season brings to the area of clouds, drizzle and sea mists, the dragon tree's leaves intercept this airborne moisture by channeling it towards the root systems and then shade themselves by a dense, umbrella shaped canopy.
These amazing Dragon Tree's do look strange, their like some kinda ancient age species plant form that has adapted to our modern environment. It is remarkable that these trees have been able to survive and adapted to this modern environment, even as ancient and strange as they are. This remarkable tree's have been economically important for centuries. The Local people that live on the island value the place in which they live with the Dragon Tree's. Besides the Trees- it has food for their livestock; feeding very small quantities of berries to feed the cows and goats to improve their health, however the goats can cause sickness in excess.
The Dragon Tree is perhaps best known for the red resin it is name after. What this means to the Socotris on the island is 'Emzoloh'. It has a large range of traditional medicinal uses.
It is referred to by the ancients as 'Cinnabar' it was well known in trade before 60AD; and the dye
'of 'DRAGONS BLOOD' is though to have been responsible for the intense colour of Stradivarius Violins.
Even with all its wonderful properties the one thing that is uncertain with the Dragon Tree's future is-the most significant problem of all and that is CLIMATE CHANGE!. YOU SEE SOCOTRA IS DRYING OUT, WITH ONCE A RELIABLE MONSOON WEATHER BECOMING NOW A PATCHY A IRREGULAR ISLAND DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE!!!
Despite all of this, the future of these trees is uncertain due to Climate Change!
Few populations are regenerating naturally, and in some areas young trees lack the species characteristic umbrella shapes to protect themselves.
Each of these Dragon Tree's can expect to lose 45% of its potential habitat by the year 2080, and while, expanding the Skund Nature Sancturary they still could protect two protect refuge arears, this level of conservation work will not save the species.
Unless we take major steps to mitigate climate change very soon, the future of the Socotra's iconic and ancient Dragon Tree's along with countless other species around the world - it is very much in doubt we will see these amazing Dragon Trees in the future.
And the Medicinal uses/other uses of the sap of the Dragon trees. Such as the intense color of the Stradivarius Violins and Traditional meds.
The dragon Tree has been known mostly for its sap which is called the blood of the tree' Dragon Blood' which is very well known and is distinctive to the plant of the island of Socotra. On this island, these unique and very strange appearing trees can be described as upturned, densely packed crowned trees having the shape of an upright held umbrella'. They are basically evergreen species in name after its dark red resin, which is known as 'DRAGON BLOOD'.

Unlike most monocot plants, the Dracaenaceae is display as a secondary growth 'called Cinnabari' even has growth zones resembling tree rings found in dicot tree species. Along with other arborescent Dracaena species it has a distinctive growth habitat called 'Dracoid Habitus'
The leaves of these amazing trees are found only at the end of its youngest branches; its leaves are all shed every 3-4years before new leaves simultaneously mature. Branching tends to occur when the growth of the terminal bud stops due to either flowering of the tree or traumatic events stop it from doing so. Sadly this is happing all over the island of SOCOTRA.

What is happening is its fruits are very small fleshy berries containing only between 1 to 3 seeds. Plus as they develop they trun from green to black and then become orange once they are ripe to eat. The berries are then eaten by the island birds-Onychognatus species and thereby dispersed. The seeds are only 4 to 5 mm in diameter and weigh on average 68 mg. The berries exude a deep red resin, known as dragon blood.
These Palms of the Dragon trees grows from the tip of the stem with the long stiff leaves borne in dense rosettes at the end. It will then branch off to maturity to produce an umbrella shape crown with leaves that measure up to what looks like the usual dragon tree producing flowers around February through flowering does vary with each location on the island. These flowers tend to grow at the end of the branches of the tree, they have a inflorescences and they bear small clusters of fragrant white or even green flowers. The fruit takes about five months to mature. And when it does it has a interesting look you might say...It changes from a green to black as it gradually ripens. The fleshy berry fruit ends up being an orange-red color that contains one to three seeds. The berries are usually eaten and dispersed by the birds and other animals on the island.
As for the unusual shape of the dragon's blood tree, its adaptation for is survial in such arid conditions and low amounts of soil is quite amazing - could be the reason it is called the Dragon Tree. The tree was first called 'Pterocarpus draco, however in 1880 the Scottish botanist made a formal description of the species and renamed the tree to 'Dracaena Cinnabari. It would seem over 60 and 100 Dracaena species have been created from the Cinnabari tree is one of only 6 species which grow as a tree.



Sadly the Dragon Tree is considered a remnant of the subtropical forests that are now almost extinct due to the extensive desertification of North Africa-As in mountaintops. The large, packed crown provides shade and reduces evaporation. The shade also aid in the survival of seedlings

growing beneath...
The lone Dragon Tree is what is becoming of  the island of SOCOTRA. You see although most of its ecological habitats are still intact, the problem that is killing the ancient trees is the increasing population with the industrial and tourism development. but isn't that always the case when humanity finds something beautiful and ancient they want it for themselves and in the end they destroy it!!!
Hence putting more pressure on the vegetation through the process of logging, overgrazing, woodcutting and infrastructure is just some of the human touch that is killing the ancient island. Though the Dragon 's blood from the trees is highly widespread in need so say, it has become just a fragmented due to the development that concerns its habitats. Most of the folks that do live there or that populate the island are suffering are due to poor regenerations. Human activities have greatly reduced the deeply religious belief in the dragon blood in the trees for the people who have live there for centuries.

The Human activities have greatly reduced the dragon's blood population through overgrazing it, plus the over feeding the flowers and fruits to the livestock of the island. One of the species greatest threats is the gradual drying out of the Socotra Archipelago, which has been an ongoing process for the last few hundred years.
This has resulted in non flourishing of any trees in large amounts as you could see in the early images. The duration of the mist and cloud cover around the area seems to decreasing for some reason too.
Sadly if this continues with this type of new environment it is predicted to cause a 45% reduction in the most available habitat for all time. And it could be all gone by the year 2080 or even early....What you are seeing is another result to climate change which is happening around the world .. Yes it is truly happening.. I hope we will believe it is before its is truly too late.😕
There are other threats to the dragon's blood tree include the harvesting of its resin and the uses of the leaves too make rope...
This is what it look like
before BEAUTIFUL!
Presently some of the Dragon Tree have been used to make beehives. This was generally prohibited, this displays haw the species may be threatened by a breakdown in the traditional practises of the island. Lastly the best preserved and largest stand of is the limestone plateau named Rokeb di Firmihin. Which is approximately [540 hectares] 1,3000 acres forest has numerous of rare and endemic species. Research shows that in coming decades the number of trees in the forest will decrease due to the lack of natural regeneration. In my opinion this doesn't mean just because the trees are decreasing because of water. It seems to me that they are just waiting to get their hands on the limestone too. Its like they can't leave nature alone. As for the local inhabitants in the city of Socotra they have used the dragon blood resin for centuries for a cure-all. They use it in general wound healing, as a coagulant, cure for diarrhea, for dysentery diseases, for lowering fever. Also it is used for ulcers in the mouth, throat intestines and stomach.
I hope that this small island and the people and the ancient Dragon Trees will not disappear like so many cultures and beautiful natural beauty's of the world. I hope that is was informative and interesting for you all. I was able to finally fix my blog and my blogger post, layout. It took me from Friday to today Tuesday. From manally delete the one image that I believe had a vires tag on it. With no help from the google corp.. But I do thank you all for you very kind comments that you all wrote and you support as you have always been there for me. I wanted to get my blog fixed as soon as possible so that I could get going on new posts for you all . Because I love you all very much Your friend always ...Wendy
















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