Dragon Tree of Tenerife
An article about a tree? Doesn’t that sound rather dull? Well it’s named the Dragon Tree after all, which must make it a little bit exciting. And in Tenerife you can find the Ancient Dragon Tree which many say is a thousand years old.
The Dragon Tree, with the latin name of Dracaena draco, is a tree that is native to the Canary Islands. The tree has a distinct apperance as it does not really grow in the same way as a “normal” tree. The Dragon Tree goes through many different stages while growing. During the first 10-15 years it consists of a single stem that grows by itself. But when the first decade of the trees life has passed, something happens. The tree shoots out new stems that grow from the first one. Meaning that it branches out more and more.
The tree is actually a national symbol of Tenerife and the entire Canary Islands. In Icod de Los Vinos you can find the “Ancient Dragon Tree“. It is often stated that this tree is over a thousand years old. But there is really no way of telling as the Dragon Tree does not produce “age rings” in the same manner as other trees. The tree is however at least a couple of hundred years old. The tree has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
The Dragon Trees status in the world is vulnerable according to IUCN. Meaning that the tree is in the risk zone of becoming endangered unless actions are taken for its preservation.
There’s also a story about a Dragon Tree that excited for thousands of years on the island and was worshipped by the Guanches. The Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt saw it during his visit to Tenerife. Due to it’s massive size of over 20 meters in height and almost 15 meters in width it is argued that this tree was 6000 years old. However, the tree was destroyed by a storm in 1868 so there’s no way of ever knowing if this is true.
Another World Heritage Site is Teide National park. Why not visit it?