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Drago: a tree with a legend given to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences

The moving and planting of the drago in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the UB took place this October.

The moving and planting of the drago in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the UB took place this October.

19/10/2017

Institucional

The garden of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences is the new home for a Canary Islands drago tree (Dracaena draco), ceded by Ricard Rodríguez, one of the attendants of the UB Botany Tours organized by the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCC+i) of the University of Barcelona.

 

This drago, now transplanted and which is aged around twenty-five, did not have more chances to continue living in a private house. This tree represents a unique tree lineage, coming from the Macaronesia area (Canary Islands, Madeira, Cape Verde and western Morocco). With a slow growing process, the drago blooms occasionally, a time when its ramification takes place.

 

This tree, which can reach twenty meters of height, has a long life too (between 200 and 300 years). In the Canary Islands, the drago is an abundant species in parks and gardens, but the wild ones are threatened –category VU or vulnerable- according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN). 

Its trunks and leaves produce a red resin –the known dragon’s blood or sanguis draco results from it- which takes place due the presence of flavonoids. According to Pliny the Elder, dragon’s blood was a liquid a basilisk poured during its mythological fight against an elephant. The mythology on the origins of fantasy creatures gave the dragon’s blood almost miraculous properties in the field of medieval pharmacy. For more than two thousand years, this dragon’s blood, -originally coming from other Asian Dracaena brought by caravans- has been used in Mediterranean countries for paintings in the field of medicine (respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases). At the moment, some Asian countries still use some of the traditional medicinal uses –symbolic and ritual- of this right stem and hard wood tree. 

The moving and planting of the drago in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the UB took place this October in a process carried out by Fundació Tallers de Catalunya –which takes care of the garden of the Faculty- and under the supervision of Joaquim Flores, technician of the gardens of the UB and member of the Department of Infrastructures and General Services of the UB. Also, the Ferran Soldevila garden, a real green oasis in the center of the Historical Building of the UB, offers a model of this species from the Asparagaceae family.

 

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