Places Of Interest In Spain-iconic Icod
The little town ICOD has one big attraction; that is, the gigantic dragon tree which looks like yucca known as El Drago. ICOD may be the oldest inhabited area on Tenerife Island, but it contains very little history. There are many 16th century houses that have ornate balconies which are a sight to behold, and they are situated right next to El Drago which makes exploring this part of the island easy by going straight to one location for all of its worthy sights.
The Special Old Tree
The El Drago tree is considered as the biggest and oldest species of the prevalentdragon tree found in the world today. It looms majestically on the main road at the west side of town. With tremendous dimensions of 17 meters high and 6 meters in circumference, this tree makes a commanding display that is due to its age.
Humboldt, a German scientist in the late 18th century, declared the El Drago tree to be the most ancient living thing on the earth at that point in time, estimating it to be between 300-500 years; thus, the dragon tree is older than any of its surrounding buildings. It can be viewed from afar because of its enormous size. Although it is a fact that these trees are clearly old, their exact age is also hard to determine as there are no annual rings as with other trees.
The trees roots go around and around concealing the root stem which tends to stifle and rot gradually within, leaving an estimation of its age based on a new shoot every 10 to 12 years.
There are other versions of the El Drago tree on the island, nearer to Calle de San Antonio where you will see stylish 16th century and 17th century Drago Chico and Mariposa del Drago, which is a tropical garden that is opened daily and swarms with butterflies.
Characteristics of the Dragon Tree
The dragon tree is strangely shaped like a huge fraying rope with a twisted trunk and a multi-branch crown. Although this tree species was very common in the Mediterranean areas, the coldness of the Ice Ages that occurred many hundreds of decades ago, has withered its habitation further to the south side, restricting its growth on the Canary Islands which offer a very stable climate to sustain growth.
The tree possesses very distinct characteristics, such as gnarled wood and uniquely shaped buds that allowed it such longevity, which have gained worldwide attention and respect. The Guanche elders and their kings were supposed to have meetings and discussions underneath the trees canopy with many believing in the trees magical forecast of the future; like that of a fine blossom referring to a fine harvest. However, the trees most distinct feature is its red, rubbery sap, which is thought of as the dragons blood, gives the tree its name. This sap also is famously used in many applications such as healing salves, mummification and tooth care.
More recent developments of its uses have been included in marble, toothpaste, hair care products and the making of Italian violins. The red saps popularity has brought terror on the dragon trees which are tapped unrelentingly until very few specimens are left in certain areas of Tenerife, such as Teno and Anaga.