Tour to Dixsam plateau in Socotra discovering the Dracena cinnabari trees
18 and 19 February 2014
The Dracena cinnabari, commonly known as dragon blood tree because of its red resin, is probably the most characteristic plant endemic to Socotra island, where it lives in beautiful forests onto Dixsam plateau and Firmin forest itself. The Dracena cinnabari is not the only plant living on Dixsam plateau, but this small area of Socotra is also home to numerous Adenium obesum and other rare plants not found in other parts of the world.
Dixsam plateau in Socotra extends over the mountains at an average altitude of 500 meters above sea level, and is known for the presence of Dracena cinnabari
, a beautiful tree endemic to Socotra, unique in the world.
Pictures of Dracena cinnabari
in Socotra. The Dracena cinnabari
is an endemic plant of Socotra classified by the IUCN (the international organization for the conservation of nature) as "vulnerable" due to the modest area of distribution limited to a few hills on the island of Socotra, which are threatened by grazing and by human activities.
The Dracena cinnabari
is also known under the name of "dragon blood tree" because it produces a resin that once dissolved in water, it creates a red liquid. This liquid seems to have curative properties against diarrhea, bleeding and ulcers so, for this reason, it is often used by locals as a remedy for such problems.
Firming forest is home to numerous trees of Dracena cinnabari
(dragon blood tree).
Pictures of Dracena cinnabari in Socotra. The Dracena cinnabari
grows on the barren plateau of Dixsam as isolated trees, or forming real forests such as in Firmin.
Photos of a Dracena cinnabari
shoot from below with a Nikon 10.5 Fisheye lens.
The beautiful Dracena cinnabari
tree is the main "national" symbol of Socotra.
The Dixsam plateau in Socotra is the home to not only Dracena cinnabari, but also to other endemic trees and plants, including succulent plants. In these photos, a Boswellia ameero
, one of three species of Boswellia
living in Socotra, whose resin is collected by local people to produce incense.
I make a trek of a few hours to explore the Firmin forest more in depth, which in the distance looks like a vast conglomeration of Dracena cinnabari
Hiking in the forest of Firmin, I discover numerous Dracena cinnabari
living together with Adenium obesum
and other shrubs.
The beautiful forest of Firmin in Socotra, near the plateau of Dixam, which hosts a large number of Dracena cinnabari
What may seem the roots of a tree uprooted by the wind, is actually the "skeleton" of the canopy of a Dracena cinnabari
On the right pictures, shelters built by shepheards. Goats are very important for local people, but unfortunately the animals ignore the boundaries of protected areas, so they are a major threat to the endemic plants of Socotra, as they eat just everything.
Other plants and flowers that can be found in Socotra along Firmin forest.
Two trees of Euphorbia arbuscula
Pictures of Exacum affine
, endemic to the island of Socotra, but exported and commonly found around the world as "Persian violet".
Pictures of Adenium obesum
in full bloom. In the left picture, a Dracena cinnabari
also in bloom, is the background to the Adenium obesum
A young Adenium obesum
trying to grow in an apparently impossible place: a flat stone without any soil.
Pictures of Adenium obesum
One of several species of Aloe
living in Socotra.
Finally I find a Caralluma socotrana
with a beautiful red flower fully open. The Caralluma
, like other plants belonging to the family of Asclepiadacee
, has a particularly complex flower that resembles rotting flesh for color and smell, in order to ensure pollination by flies.
A beautiful Euphorbia spiralis
and Dracena cinnabari
in the forest of Firmin.
Me and the Adenium obesum