04 March, 2012

Socotra's Amazing Trees

Soqotra is an island of some of the strangest, most weird and most unique looking trees. From the coastline up in to the mountains and deep in to the valleys, are some of the most fantastic trees you can ever see on this Planet. Some of the trees here, exist only here. You will never find them in the wild any where else on Earth, except on this most extraordinary Island. Over one third of plants and tress found here, exist no where else. The plants and trees here are so rare and so unique that they have all been assessed for the IUCN Red List.

Dendrosicyos Socotranus or the cucumber tree above - is endemic to the Island and is the only species in the Cucurbitaceae family to grow in a tree form.
Out of this World. That is how most of the trees in Suqutra look like.
They have the strangest of appearance and grow in the most unlikely of places.
After visiting Socotra, one thing is certain: your definition of 'trees' will certainly change.
And most likely: your definition of 'landscapes with trees' will change, too.
Some of the trees here, can be found hanging precariously on the sides of mountains or cliffs.
The Desert Rose Tree or Bottle Tree (Adenium obesum). With trunks as weird shaped as these, the roses on them look rather very odd.
The Bottle Tree in full bloom with very beautiful roses. What an incredible sight!
The most unique and one of the most amazing trees you can ever see, is the Dragon's Blood Tree. They are found no where else on Earth except here.
In most parts of the Island, it is very rugged and the climate here can be of the most extreme. But these trees grow and thrive.
The Dragon's Blood Tree resembles an umbrella. The tree’s name originates from the red sap, or resin - which the trees exude when its trunks are wounded. 
People of Hadhramaut - which Soqutra is part of - still use the Dragon's Blood Tree's resin as medicine, incense and as a dye and varnish. And for cosmetics.
The Dragon's Blood Tree, the sea, the blue sky and the rugged landscape - creates one of the most spectacular views.
Where else on Earth can you see such extraordinary tree trunks and bark?
Every thing about the Dragon's Blood Tree is remarkable and startling.
The leaves might look like those of palms. But look closely and they are different.
The Dragon's Blood Tree grows very slowly and takes years to mature. Like turtles, which are amazing, these trees take long to create their very rare shapes.

It takes an experienced, knowledgeable person to notice and realize that most of Socotra's wild life forms are unique and are endemic only to the Island. But, of all the features in the Island, its trees stand out and - even as a layman - you can easily notice that, the trees are very unique and extraordinary.

+ More photos of Soqotra on Flickr: here and here  
+ More photos of Socotra on Flickriver: here and here