The Dracaena Draco or dragon tree is a native species to the Canary Islands and the official plant symbol of Tenerife. It gets its name because, when the bark or leaves are cut, they secrete a red colored resin said to be the dried blood of dragons. In the past, this "dragon's blood" was extracted on an industrial scale to make varnishes and lacquers hence many of these trees disappeared and today the tree is a protected species.
The dragon tree has a striking appearance with a densely packed, umbrella-shaped crown of stubby branches and a thick, bare trunk. The indigenous Guanches worshiped a particular tree in Tenerife, and hollowed its trunk into a small sanctuary. When the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt saw it in 1799 it was 21m tall, 14 m in circumference, and estimated to be 6000 years old. It was unfortunately destroyed by a storm in 1868.
Currently the oldest and largest living specimen of dragon tree is the Drago Milenario (Millennial Dragon Tree) in Icod de los Vinos here in Tenerife. The specimen's age is disputed - different studies suggest that it is from 200 to 1,000 years old. Declared a national monument in 1917, it is part of the coat of arms for the Icod de los Vinos municipality and appears in local legends.
Six examples of this unusual and endangered tree are being cared for at the Gar, some near the Moon Garden, the oldest close to the cafeteria.