Dracaena Draco – More on Dragon Trees

Based on all the LIKES from the last post, I am going to post another picture of the same tree today. I hope you don’t mind. ;)

In the front (or at least I think it’s the front) of that tree, there’s a plate that reads,

Dragon Tree, Dracaena Draco, agavaceae

Native to the Canary Islands this unusual tree was planted at The Del prior to the turn of the century where it thrives in our temperate southern California coastal climate.

The Dragon Tree was used as a backdrop in the Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like It Hot, which was filmed at The Del in 1958.

DID YOU KNOW?

When the bark or leaves are cut  (Dragon Tree) secrete a reddish resin, one of the sources of the substance known as Dragon’s blood, used to stain wood, such as of Stradivarius violins. It also has a number of traditional medicinal uses.  (Dracaena draco – Wikipedia)

Ohhh…No wonder I was so awe-struck by this tree. A real Stradivarius sounds Amazing. And I wouldn’t mind a wand made of this dragon tree wood with a drop of dragon’s blood, a drop of Unicorn tear, and one Phoenix feather either. ;)

Kidding aside (or am I?) Animal Couriers questioned whether this is a real tree in the comment box on my last post and I replied saying “Yes, it’s a real tree”, but I was wrong!

DRAGON TREE IS NOT A TREE

According to Wiki (if you have a better source, let me know) Dragon Trees are actually “Monocotyledons, also known as monocots, are one of two major groups of flowering plants (or angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, the other being dicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon (seed-leaf), in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots. Monocots have been recognized at various taxonomic ranks, and under various names (see below). The APG II system recognises a clade called “monocots” but does not assign it to a taxonomic rank.”

WHAT?!?

After reading the last bit, I felt like I am back in Botany 101 (Plant Biology) class again except that I don’t remember half (nay, most) of what I learned. Maybe some of you do remember or are experts in this field? In which case, please teach me. :)

So I read on… And I found out that–

“Dracaena draco is a monocot with a tree-like growth habit currently placed in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoidae).It is not a real tree. When young it has a single stem. At about 10–15 years of age the stems stops growing and produces a flower spike with white, lily-like perfumed flowers, followed by coral berries. Soon a crown of terminal buds appear 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.”

Okay…So what’s so different?

In trees, I learned that you can count the age rings to find the tree’s age, but in a Dragon Tree, you can’t do that. While it mimics the look of a tree, Dragon Tree is not a tree and therefore doesn’t have age rings.

So how can you tell how old the tree is?

Well, if you planted it and kept good records, you will know. Or in some instances, you can count the branching points and do some estimates.

Isn’t that just fascinating?

I can’t wait to read more on this topic. Dragon Tree is such a cool non-tree tree look-a-like plant.

Thanks so much everyone!

And a BIG thanks to Animal Couriers for raising the question.

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16 responses to “Dracaena Draco – More on Dragon Trees

  1. There was something about the branches that made us wonder about the origin. We’ll be looking out for them everywhere now ;-) Thanks very much for your research and information.

    • Great attention to detail! Yeah, I hope you do see some of these in your travels. It would be great to see how they look in different areas. :)

  2. Excellent research and information. Related to the asparagus family; how interesting! I love this monocot!

    • I was surprise to read that part also. Lol. I had no idea it would be in the asparagus family!?! Well, I did get info from Wiki which I will say that it should be taken with a grain of salt. I am going to look into researching more on this tree so if I learn of anything else interesting, I will blog about it. :)

  3. so much from one amazing …er …. tree. RHS classifies it as a tree and ARKive has some interesting mythology “Hercules had to bring back three golden apples from the garden of the Hespérides, which is guarded by Landon, the hundred-headed dragon. Hercules killed Landon and his blood flowed out over the land, which began to sprout ‘dragon’ trees . The tree exudes ‘dragon’s blood’ – a red sap – when cut”. Many thanks for the fascinating facts

    • Hi Laura. Fascinating research you have done! I have always loved fables and myths and these are just great! I sometimes wonder if these creatures such as Landon ever lived (perhaps in Dinosaur age?) or if it’s all part of our active imagination? Thanks so much!!! :)

  4. What a beautiful plant! And thanks for letting us know a little bit more about it, this is fascinating!

  5. Pingback: Five of the Most Peculiar Trees You've Probably Never Seen·

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