Friday, September 14, 2007

Dragon Trees

Dracaeno Draco (or Dragon Tree) is a beautiful subtropical tree which drops leaves with the most amazingly colourful and exquisite stalks. I began experimenting with the stalks a few years ago. This piece was made from a variety of fibres woven into a frame made of wisteria vine.

The Dracaena draco is native to the Canary Islands and the trees have a great umbrella-shaped canopy. There is a beautiful tree in Brisbane City Botanical Gardens up on the hill near the cafe which was planted in 1862 (some specimen are beleived to be over 600 years old).

I collected the leaves for my work from underneath a Dragon Tree in the carpark of Humble Pies at Billinudgel (north coasters will know exactly where I mean). The trick is to collect the leaves not too long after they have fallen and faded from the sun.

Apparently, the common name Dragon Tree comes from ancient Roman and mediaeval magic and alchemy. The reddish resin that the tree secretes when cut is known as dragon's blood, and is believed by some to be the dried blood of dragons. The coloured resin has been used as a varnish and dye, as well for a variety of medicinal and sharmanistic purposes.

The use of dragon's blood is documented across a wide range of cultures and its long list of uses has included violin varnish, toothpaste, incense, ink, as an antiviral and a coagulant, for chest pains, menstrual irregularities, eczema and ulcers, to stop post-partum bleeding, for diarrhea, for increasing the potency of spells in witchcraft and even as a great material for making baskets!

1 comment:

Dan said...

It looks like you are interested in trees,
check out the pictures of the
Dragon Tree
that I just posted on my blog.