THE ONLY DRAGON TREE ON THE ISLAND OF LA GOMERA
Above the village of Alajeró, situated on the slope of a small ravine, barely visible from the road and reached only by traversing a gully filled with large rocks and boulders, surrounded by a few small solitary date palms, is La Gomera’s only dragon tree, known as the Drago de Agalán or Drago de Magaña. The Canary dragon tree, Dracaena draco, is native to Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and Porto Santo). The plant begins its life with a single stemmed trunk that forks after flowering when it reaches the age of ten or more years. This forking continues throughout its life and produces the dramatic fractal branching and umbrella-like outlines that characterize the appearance of older trees. Because the trees produce no annual growth rings it is virtually impossible to determine their age. When they flower they have small greenish-white or pinkish-white blossoms, that occur in large, branching clusters. They produce orange-red berries containing a whitish seed. I have read that the Gomeran tree has been enclosed by a fence since the late 1990s, so I was fortunate to be able to photograph it sans protection. Once fairly abundant, Dracaena in Macaronesia is now in decline.
Photo taken near the village of Alajeró on the Island of La Gomera November 1991.
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