Dragon’s Blood

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. (Wikipedia)

List of botanical sources for dragon’s blood

  • Calamus rotang L.
  • Croton draconoides Müll. Arg.
  • Croton draco Schltdl. & Cham.
  • Croton lechleri Müll. Arg.
  • Croton urucurana Baill.
  • Croton xalapensis Kunth
  • Daemonorops draco Blume
  • Daemonorops didymophylla Becc.
  • Daemonorops micranthus Becc.
  • Daemonorops motleyi Becc.
  • Daemonorops rubra (Reinw. ex Blume) Mart.
  • Daemonorops propinquus Becc.
  • Dracaena cinnabari Balf.f.
  • Dracaena cochinchinensis Hort. ex Baker
  • Dracaena draco (L.) L.
  • Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq.

Dragon Tree ~ Dracaena draco

Dracaena_dracoDracaena draco (Click image to enlarge)

This tree is related to Ladon, an ancient dragon with a hundred heads, each of which spoke in a different voice. When Juno was married, Gaia gave her three golden apples as a present. Juno put them in the Garden of the Hesperides and set Ladon to guard them. Herakles intended to steal the apples and killed Ladon. From the creature’s blood sprang these trees. Juno rewarded the dragon by putting him among the stars as the constellation Draco, which wraps itself around the North Pole like Ladon wrapped itself around the trees in the garden. One of its stars, Thuban (Arabic for “dragon”), was the Pole Star around 2700 BC, when Ladon’s story was first being told. The pyramid of Khufu contains a passage that was built to point at Thuban. Magickally, this Mars tree is excellent for defense and for boosting the power of any work.

This exotic tree is a native of the Canary Islands, Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The natives of the Canary Islands harvested the resin of these trees for mummification. They made shields of its bark, colored their hair red with its leaves, and hollowed out dead trees for beehives (lots of nice Mars connections here). The odd branch formations resemble the hundred heads of the dragon. Fossils of this tree have been found in southern France. It  probably grew along the coast of the Tethys Sea, which once separated Africa and Eurasia and shrank to become the Mediterranean. During the Spanish Conquest, dragon trees were over-harvested; nowadays they are very scarce in their native areas and are protected. The red resin  of this tree is richly fragrant and of a much higher quality than the resin from Calamus draco — it is almost impossible to find on the market at all.

dracaena-draco-cut

The dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena draco) has a thick red resin that makes the plant appear to be bleeding when it is cut. These subtropical plants form huge umbrella-like canopies and can grow for hundreds of years, but they are currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to the trademark resin being used in traditional medicine, violin staining, and even for embalming the dead.

Sources:
Dracaena draco text from alchemy-works.com/dracaena_draco.html
Dracaena draco tree image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracaena_draco
Cut Dracaena draco tree image and caption from muldersworld.com/photo.asp?id=12706

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