Dragon’s Blood is not one specific plant; rather it’s a group of different rattan palms that all produce a deep scarlet resin. Rattan palms cover about 600 species of old world climbing palms. In general, dragon’s blood palms have long, slender stems that are flexible. As they age, the trees lean onto and climb other trees.
The genera are Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus, and Pterocarpus. The most well-known species is Daemonorops draco (formerly Calamus draco) whose distinguishing feature is the placement of the flowers along the branches (rather than clustered into catkins). The flowers are small and creamy-white. The pea-sized fruits are bright orange.
Most of the information below refers to the Daemonorops draco.
Botanical Name: Daemonorops
Common/Folk Names: Blume, Calamus Draco, Draconis Resina, Dragon’s Blood, Dragon’s Blood Palm, and Sanguis Draconis.
Life Cycle: perennial
Habitat: primarily in the tropics and subtropics of southeastern Asia with a few species extending into southern China and the Himalayas
Blooms: late winter to early spring
Smell: plant is woodsy; incense is strong, smoky, woodsy, spicy, with a floral hint
Taste: faintly sweet, almost tasteless (hardened resin is not edible)
- Dracaena draco is a giant tree found in the East Indies and Canary Islands.
- Early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs used it for its medicinal properties and as dye.
- The Guanches of the Canaries used it for embalming.
- The stems are harvested for their cores and used for many things including walking canes and furniture.
- It’s used as a coloring agent.
- The resin was used as varnish for 18th-century Italian violin makers.
- It was also used in photoengraving processes as a coloring material.
- Polysaccharides found in some species have medicinal anticoagulant properties.
- The resinous part of the fruit had been used as an aphrodisiac. It has also been used an astringent as well as aid for diarrhea, dysentery, and asthma.
- A concoction of Dragon’s Blood, colocynth, gamboges, nitre, and copaiba balsam with was believed to cure syphilis.
- The cherry-sized berries from some species are sold as beads.
- The seeds of the Daemonorops margaritae are used for Buddhist prayer beads.
- Dragon’s Blood Oil is used in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Wicca, and Pagan rituals.
- Gaia gave Juno three golden apples when she married. Juno put them in the Garden of the Hesperides and set Ladon, an ancient dragon with a hundred heads, to guard them. When Herakles tried to steal the apples, he killed Ladon. These palm trees sprang from Ladon’s blood.
- A dab of the oil on amulets and talismans provides protection and courage.
- Burning incense will bring love, protection, and courage. It’s also used for exorcism, cleansing a home, and warding off evil.
- Burning incense in the window will invite love in (or address impotency problems).
- Resin carried in the pocket will bring good luck.
- It enables shape shifting.
- Use in magic spells to bring back a loved one.
Side Note: Dragon’s Blood Jasper
I had to mention this dark green jasper with deep red streaks. The stone will enhance your life force; bring courage, strength, and vitality.
This is a reference for fiction writers and should not be taken as medical or spiritual advice.
*may or may not be from this species, it was unclear from the information
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
image: bleeding resin, tree, powder and resin, fruit, jasper all from Wikipedia.org
series logo image by openclipart.org, awesome colorization by me!