Socotra: Flora of Socotra

At the end of the day, it is the flora of Socotra that makes this island truly unique and amazing and unlike any other place on earth. There are 825 plant species here, 37% endemic and found nowhere else on the planet. Socotra is truly a botanist dream come true, and the UNESCO World Heritage status was awarded to the entire Esplanadna primarily for its flora. Dragon’s Blood Trees (Dracaena cinnabari) are the most iconic with their umbrella like appearance. They form groves high in the mountains of the central plateau. Their sap is blood-red and is thought to be the. Looks of the ancient dragons, the sap has been historically used as cosmetic and dye. Dragon trees are extremely slow growing. The most beautiful tree is undoubtedly the Socotra Desert Rose or Bottle Tree (Adenium obesum socotranum), with its peculiar fat trunks and short branches and absolutely stunning pink flowers that bloom in March. Somewhat similar in shape to bottle trees is an even more bizarre tree, the Cucumber tree (Dendrosicyos socotranum). This is the only species of the only genius in the world, and it’s not all that common to find it. Yet another tree, Boswellia socotrana, forms massive branches and is probably the largest tree on the island, with its sap being similar to Omani frankincense, just slightly less strong in fragrance. Besides the majestic trees, the smaller annual plants are also bizarre – a lot of aloes and euphorbia succulents, coastal flowers along the beach, and small crevice-growing plants in the granite and limestone mountains and deep canyons. I should have been a botanist!