An ancient dragon

One of the weirdest trees growing naturally in Spain is the Dracaena draco, the Canary Islands Dragon Tree (Drago in Spanish). Reports of one thousand-year old specimens are somewhat exagerrated. The tree, shown above at Icod de los Vino, is thought to be the oldest in the islands at a sprightly 650 years.

The tree ‘s name has mythical origins: for his 11th labour, 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. Arkive. The origin of this tale lies in the tree’s resin: When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin, one of the sources of the substance known as Dragon’s blood.

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