There are some weird places in this world, but one in particular seems to be from another dimension. The plants that grow on the Socotra Island, in the Indian Ocean, are so strange that one might think is on another planet, when in fact that person is 250 miles away from Somalia.
With about 250 million years ago, when large masses of land were united and most life forms could move freely from one region to another, Socotra continued to remain an isolated island.
Actually, Socotra Island is an archipelago formed of four islands, near the Gulf of Aden. It is very isolated, has a harsh, hot, and dry climate, and it used to be part of Africa six million years ago. It has hundreds of unique species of both flora and fauna. A third of the 700 rare plants on Socotra don’t grow in any other place in the world. In other words, this place is the habitat of plants and strange animals.
One of the most amazing plants on the island is the secular Cinnabar or “Dragon’s Blood Tree” (Dracaena Cinnabar), which is a strange, umbrella shaped tree. The legend says that the tree’s purple rasin is what used to be the dragon’s blood, which is believed to have curative properties. In the Middle Ages, this resin was used by the luthiers in the making of violins. Currently, it is used by locals in the manufacture of paints and varnishes.
Another great plant is the so called “Desert Rose Tree” (Adenium obesium), which appears to have some fascinating forms that are trying to penetrate the rocky soil. It also produces beautiful gigantic pink flowers in April. Its trunk is a precious reservoir of water for this area with a nearly desert climate and it can reach five meters in height and three meters in diameter.
On the other hand, the only mammals native to Socotra are bats. However, on the island there are also dogs and cats, which are much bigger than the European ones, reaching up to 27 pounds. They are believed to be the wild descendants of today’s domestic cats brought on the island by settlers.