The Drago Milenario Dragon Tree of Icod de los Vinos

Mon, January 10th, 2011 - By Steve

It’s not that often that a tree becomes world famous or becomes recognised as a symbol of an island but an ancient dragon tree in Icod de los Vinos has done both.

The “Drago Milenario” that stands proudly in its own little park in the Tenerife town of Icod is rumoured to be between 1,000 and 3,000-years-old, although more conservative estimates put it more like 650-800 years.

Whatever its true age, the massive mushroom head that fans out above a very broad gnarled and knotted trunk is sure to impress. This mighty dragon tree is what the tourists all come to see when they visit Icod de los Vinos in the northwest of the island.

I remember making my own journey to Icod just to see this tree when I first came to Tenerife. I felt as if the tree had called me and my first visit to see it was more like a pilgrimage than a sight-seeing trip. The Drago Milenario commands that sort of respect. It brings to mind all sorts of ideas when you stand below it wondering about its age and what this ancient tree has seen in its time.

It’s said that the Guanche people, who were the original Tenerife islanders before the Spanish Conquest, used to gather for special meetings under its branches. Standing there today and letting your mind wander, it’s very easy to believe that this happened.
If you’re an imaginative type like me you will no doubt fancy you can see bodies, faces and all manner of shapes in the tangles of its branches and mighty trunk. Standing below it takes you back in time too, a time before there were roads and houses, tourist shops and tour buses. This tree was here long before all of that.

Nowadays the Drago Milenario is housed in the Parque del Drago where there are pleasant pathways that take you around the grounds, which are also planted with endemic wild flowers, shrubs and trees. You can see younger dragon trees too and be amazed when you compare their sizes with the famous ancient tree.
The park is well worth visiting if you like plants. There are really interesting ones on show such as the tall flowering spikes of the white viper’s bugloss, the bright red upper trunks of the palo de sangre (stick of blood) and the fruits of the Canary Islands strawberry tree. There are caves, a fishpond, and usually some ornamental fowl wandering around or startling you with their cries, as well as lizards, geckos and skinks. Magnificent monarch butterflies too frequent this charming park and gather nectar from its flowers.

It will cost you €5 to go in though, but if you want to look at the Drago Milenario for free you can get really great views over the wall from the square that overlooks the park.

Either way, this tree is a “must-see” if you come to Icod. And while you’re there, why not pop into the butterfly farm next door and make it an even better day out?

Fact File:

Parque del Drago, Plaza de la Constitución 1, Icod de los Vinos; (0034) 922 81 22 26; open every day 9.30am-6.30pm; entrance €5

Posted : Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 10:43 am
Category : days out
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6 Responses to “The Drago Milenario Dragon Tree of Icod de los Vinos”

  1. […] the trees are known as Drago trees and they grow across northern areas such as Los Realejos, Icod de Los Vinos, La Laguna, La Orotava […]

  2. […] Mount Teide and Pico Viejo dominating the horizon. Take a short detour into Icod and add the famous Millenium Drago Tree to the memory […]

  3. […] of the Garachico coast. The corkscrew road down into Icod de los Vinos reveals the iconic gnarled Drago Tree and as you glide into the local bus station, some 90 minutes after leaving the south, the bizarre […]

  4. […] find yourself alongside the Millennium Drago Tree, the Malvasía Museum and the butterfly farm of Icod de Los Vinos and the last thing you expect to […]

  5. […] the multi headed tree that’s not a tree draws visitors to Icod de los Vinos. And rightly so, the Millennium Drago is an impressive […]

  6. […] Ayuntamiento (council) building at the main shopping crossroads just a few moments walk from the Milenario Drago tree and visitor’s centre. That would be a good enough reason in itself to pop in but I always […]

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