Dracaena cambodiana : India’s first dragon blood-oozing tree

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the specie



News

  • Assam has added to India’s botanical wealth a plant that yields dragon’s blood — a bright red resin used since ancient times as medicine, body oil, varnish, incense and dye.

Dracaena cambodiana

  • A group of researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
  • This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.
  • In India, the Dracaena genus belonging to the family Asparagaceae is represented by nine species and two varieties in the Himalayan region, the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • But Dracaena cambodiana is the only true dragon tree species.
  • The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its natural conservation.
  • Recent overexploitation to meet the increasing demand for dragon’s blood has resulted in rapid depletion of the plant.

Uses

  • Dracaena cambodiana is an important medicinal plant as well as an ornamental tree.
  • It is a major source of dragon’s blood, a precious traditional medicine in China.
  • Several antifungal and antibacterial compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc., have been extracted from various parts of the plant.
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