Dragon trees from Yemen bleed when cut

socotra dragon tree

The Dragon tree

If I were in charge of promoting tourism in Yemen, I’d be using the native dragon tree, or Socotra tree, as my mascot. Native to the Socotra Island these unusual trees have evolved in isolation over millions of years.

dragon tree yemen

Dragon trees in the background, Yemen

The Latin name of the endangered Socotra dragon tree or dragon blood tree is Dracaena cinnabari and it is native to the Socotra archipelago of islands in Yemen in the Indian Ocean. It is called a dragon tree due to the red sap that the trees produce.

“If you prick us, will we not bleed?”


Dragon trees bleeding

The sap is believed to have medicinal purposes.


Perfect, natural symmetry in the dragon tree

The largest island of Yemen is also called Socotra and it comprises about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago.

Due to its isolation one third of its plant life is found nowhere else in the world. It has been described as “the most alien-looking place on Earth”.

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This is what the dragon tree looks like when it is completely dried out.


If these dragon trees from Yemen don’t make you want to get out and do something to protect our earth, we don’t know what will.

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7 thoughts on “Dragon trees from Yemen bleed when cut”

  1. This photo is a fake. The logs of wood presented show :
    i) growth rings (neither Socotran nor Canarian dracaenas show any growth nor annual rings)
    ii) lack of pith (central, soft part, often root out) while dracaenas show very thick pith
    III) thick bark with deep grooves in its surface (Dracaena bark is thin and scaly
    iv) too many straight logs (Socotrans Dracaenas are branching every foot or so)
    The sap inside Dracaenas is this, watery and colourless. It gets its redness as it solidifies on contacts with oxygen but this takes weeks if not months to happen. As it solidifies It never flows freely.

    By the way, trip to Yemen is a very risky because it is WAR there.

  2. Lisa says:

    This article has a few mistakes. The trees do not “bleed” – the inside of the bark is red but hard and is chipped away with a knife. It’s then mixed with water or ground into a powder for various uses. The photo of the bleeding tree is not Dracaena nor is the “dried up” dragon’s blood tree – that’s a desert rose, Adenium obesum 🙂

  3. In fairness to the choppers, the red sap is used as lipstick, the mighty Wikipedia says. So yeah..

    1. I find this whole tree very haunting. I must learn more about it.

  4. Prolly you should apply for a job in the Yemeni tourism promotion & management establishment.

    1. Yes. When the job opens up, I will be there! 😉

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