From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : About the specie
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.