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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The name Socotra is derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning 'The Island of Bliss '... Is it the beaches? The isolation and quiet? or the strange and crazy botanical allure? Alien-looking plants: H. P. Lovecraft's secret inspiration? Was the famous Chtulhu myths creator aware of these forbidding mountains with their hauntingly weird flora (think of plant mutations from his 'The Color out of Space') ? We almost tempted to call Socotra the other 'Mountains of Madness' - the trees and plants of this island were preserved thru the long geological isolation , some varieties being 20 million years old... We begin with the dracena cinnibaris or Dragon's Blood Tree, the source of valuable resin for varnishes, dyes, and 'cure-all' medicine; also (predictably) used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy - (image credit: Christian Besnier) The branches spread out into the sky and from below appear to hover over the landscape like so many flying saucers... and from above they have a distinct mushroom look: (image credit: Jan Vandorpe
*Always click on the picture for an enlarged version.

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