Ajuntament de Barcelona

Dracaena drago

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Drago de Canàries
    Spanish name: 
    English name: 
    Dragon tree
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Asparagus draco

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of this plant is vulnerable.

    Species characteristics
    Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Cape Verde and Madeira) and western Morocco
    Thermophile forest (at a height from 100 to 600 m)

    Plant up to 15 m tall, with a single thick trunk, smooth when the tree is young and rough and marked when old. The crown is dense and umbrella-shaped. The branching happens every 15 years after the first blossoming.

    The greyish-green leaves, into bunches at the tip of the trunk and the branches, are thick, narrow and elongate (50-60 cm long and 3-4 cm wide). They are leathery but flexible.

    The whitish flowers appear into dense bunches.

    The spherical orange fruits, 1.5 cm in diameter, are fleshy.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    The sap of the Dragon Tree, known as Dragon Blood because of its red colour when in contact with air, was traded because of its medicine properties and to be used as dye and varnish, such was the case of the luthiers.

    In popular medicine, wounds were treated with its sap.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name of the dragon tree, Dracaena drago, consists of the genus name Dracaena, from the Greek δράκαινα, “female dragon”, and the Latin term drago, “dragon”, both in reference to the name “dragon blood”, with which its sap was known and commercialized.

    The most famous specimen of dragon tree is the so-called drago milenario ("millennium dragon tree"), in Icod de los Vinos (Tenerife), although its actual age is estimated between five hundred and six hundred years old.

    Although the Canarian government considers the dragon tree a natural symbol of the island of Tenerife, the highest gathering of dragon trees happens in the island of La Palma.

    In 1996, naturalists Fabrice Cuzin and Abdelmalek Benabid discovered a new subspecies of dragon tree in Morocco (Dracaena drago sub. ajgal).

    The dragon tree trunk has no growing rings, so the actual age can only be calculated using the number of branche lines, since it ramifies every 15 years after the first blooming.

    The dragon tree is unusual in Barcelona, where it can be seen at Diagonal Mar park and Monjuïc park (at the Botanical Garden and Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens).

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996