UPSC PRELIMS 2019 : Blood-oozing Tree

Blood-oozing Tree

Topic : Blood-oozing Tree

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Context :

Blood-oozing Tree

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.

 

About the Findings

  • Researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the DongkaSarpo area of West KarbiAnglong.
  • This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.
  • Dragon tree species sap turns bright red after coming in contact with air
  • 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

 

About Dracaena cambodiana

  • 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.
  • “Recent overexploitation to meet the increasing demand for dragon’s blood has resulted in rapid depletion of the plant. For this reason, the species is already listed in the inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of China
  • The habitat of the plant is severely fragmented due to open excavation of a stone quarry and there is continuing decrease in its area of occupancy and number of mature individuals,” he said.
  • 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.

Properties

  • It is a plant that yields dragon’s blood— a bright red resin (a precious traditional medicine in China) used since ancient times as medicine, body oil, varnish, incense and dye.
  • Several antifungal and antibacterial compounds,antioxidants, flavonoids, etc.have been extracted from various parts of the plant.

Location

  • In India, the Dracaena genus belonging to the family Asparagaceaeis 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 study said.

Threat

  • Recent overexploitationto meet the increasing demand for dragon’s blood has resulted in rapid depletion of the plant. For this reason, the species is already listed in the inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of China.
  • The population size of the dragon tree species in Assam was estimated to be fewer than 50 mature individuals.The habitat of the plant is severely fragmented due to open excavation of a stone quarry and there is continuing decrease in its area of occupancy and number of mature individuals.
  • 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.

 

Sample Question:

India’s first Dragon blood-oozing Tree ‘Dracaena Cambodia’ discovered in

a) Mizoram

b) Haryana

c) Assam

d) Meghalaya

Answer: c