DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flowers and fruits of the Canary Islands Dragon tree (Dracaena draco), a monocotyledon of the family Asparagaceae. Seen are a terminal panicle of flowers (bottom), and mature fruits (orange, top). In the background is the leathery pointed foliage of the tree. D. draco is one of a number of plants that produce "dragon's blood". This is a red resin that is exuded when the plant is wounded. When dried and ground to a powder, it can be used both as a dye and as a varnish; for example, it was, and continues to be, used to varnish violins. D. draco is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. The wild population on the Canary Islands amounts to only a few hundred plants, although D. draco is widely grown in suitably frost-free gardens and botanic gardens as a striking, umbrella-shaped specimen plant.
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