The Dragon Tree, an endemic species of Socotra. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Boris Khvostichenko.

*Click on image for full-sized view.

Socotra, also spelled Soqotra, is an archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean that is part of the country of Yemen. The four islands consist of Socotra (the largest island and namesake of the archipelago), Abd al Kuri, Samhah, and Darsah. Socotra is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, and many of its species of fauna are endemic and found nowhere else on the planet; over 700 plant and animal species are found here that exist nowhere else on earth.

The tree above is the Socotra Dragon Tree or Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari), one of the endemic species native only to Socotra. Though Yemenis speak Arabic for the most part, like so much else in Socotra, the 40,000-plus inhabitants speak their own unique language.


Map of the Socotra archipelago. From Wikimedia user Mysid.