Dragon tree

The Dragon Tree is a botanical curiosity - it is not a tree but actually belongs to Liliaceae, the Lily family, and is the oldest plant of all the Canarian endemic flora. The most famous Dragon Tree, which is almost 400 years old, is located at Icod in Tenerife and reaches a height of 16 meters and a trunk circumference of 6 meters. A broken branch usually produces two or more shoots and, just like a dragon, several heads can grow back if these are cut. The bark sheds red resin known as "dragon's blood", which the aborigines of the Canary Islands, the Guanches, used to make medicine, and to mummify their dead.

The Dragon Tree is capable of neutralizing many environmental poisons such as Xylol, Toluene, Benzene and Formaldehyde. Every two or three years the Dragon Tree produces flowers in the form of small white blossom. The fruits are orange and edible and the seed inside, roughly the size of a pea, is very hard.

When drying the seeds for jewellery-making it is important that the process does not cause creases, in order for each seed to maintain its round shape for many years. After removal of the sticky pulp, the seed is polished until the surface is smooth and brown.

The black pearls are Cannaceae, varieties of flowers that grow well in La Palma.