Ever heard of a tree that sheds blood when teared up or cut? Well, there is one such tree in this world and to be honest you would be amazed when you will get to know that the bloodwood tree is unique for its red sap which resembles blood.
Trees and greenery make up a major part of our environment and you cannot imagine life on earth if there are no trees. Trees are found in different sizes and shapes. Sometimes, you come across a unique kind of tree that amazes you and you are bound to wonder how the Lord has created different kinds of things in the world that a human being can only imagine.
Bloodwood tree is the name given to the trees that come up with a unique sap – the sap has a unique color unlike other trees and it has the consistency of blood.
The red sap is actually a dye that might have got mixed with the fat of any animal etc. but people believe that the bloodwood tree and the blood sap have magical powers to cure problems, especially the one concerned with blood because of the close resemblance.
There are a lot of properties of bloodwood trees that we will discuss in detail below.
What is a Bloodwood Tree?
A bloodwood tree is a towering big tree belonging to a deciduous group of trees. It has a height of about 15m and the bark is very dark in color. It is world-famous for its deep red sap that resembles blood. This one-of-a-kind tree’s organic name is Pterocarpus angiogenesis and is found in abundance in southern Africa. There are many local names for the bloodwood tree like Mukwa, Kiaat, and Muninga.
What is Red Sap associated with Bloodwood Tree?
The tree is the name for the magnificent and unique red sap that online this tree poses and it starts to bleed from any branch or stem when it is cut or gets damaged. The red sap is in reality a gum which is also known as “Kino”. The sap is a reddish color because of the presence of a chemical known as tannin. This is the same chemical that is often found in wine.
For the regular trees and plants, the amount of tannin found naturally is between 12 to 20 percent but for the bloodwood tree, the tannin is a whopping 77 percent. The tannins are usually an essential component of tree barks, stems, and even seeds and are found naturally. This is the mere chemical that may cause a plant to have a bitter taste or even a unique color, hence proving who the red sap is found in this bloodwood tree.
The red sap starts oozing out of the damaged part of the tree just like if you cut any body part of any animal. The local tribes believe that the reddish-brownish-colored water that oozes out of the tree is perfect for the healing of various diseases and wounds, especially blood-related diseases.
The red sap is traditionally used in a lot of things but mainly it is used as a dye. In a lot of places, the red sap is mixed with different skins of the animals in the cosmetic industry to be used on the face or the body.
The local tribes also believe that this red sap has magical powers to cure a lot of diseases and voodoo stuff. The African bloodwood tree is known to help in treating a lot of diseases and ailments such as stabbing pains, worms, malaria, eye problems, black flu, and various stomach problems. It is also known for having properties in aiding in increasing breast milk.
Amazing Properties of Bloodwood Tree
The bloodwood trees possess rough bark in dark brown color. It has a beautiful crown spread out in an umbrella-like shape and bears yellow flowers. The tree usually grows tall to a height between 12 meters to 18 meters. Once a tear comes in any branch or stem of the tree, or it gets damaged the red sap comes out and it is like a self-healing process for the tree. The bloodwood trees are abundantly found across South Africa and other countries of Africa such as Zaire, Angola, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zambia.
Oldest Bloodwood Tree
The exact age of this species of tree is unknown, unfortunately. It is also next to impossible to determine the age or the legacy of the bloodwood tree as there are no annual rings found on the trees and most of the estimates of the age of these trees are largely based on the number of branches a tree has which is the usual procedure for trees growth after the flowering season. The flowering takes place once in fifteen years on the bloodwood trees.
Still, after a lot of investigation and detailed study, the oldest bloodwood trees were found on the north coast of Tenerife, Spain in a small remote area of Icod de Los Vinos. The trees here reach about the height of 17 meters.
The age of the oldest bloodwood tree grown here is approximately 400 years old. Back in 1917, this tree was actually declared as a natural monument of national importance.
Uses of Bloodwood Tree
As stated above, the sap of the bloodwood tree is used in various things such as dye, cosmetics, etc. but there are also various properties of this particular tree that makes it the best option to make boats and canopies.
The wood of bloodwood trees is very durable and because of their glue-like sap, they absorb the polish really well. They are easy to join and glue together thus making them an excellent option to make canoes, building boats, and even floors for bathrooms.
Another property of a bloodwood tree is that it has the ability to shrink during its drying process, which means that the wood is not slippery and does not miss its spot once fixed.
Desert Bloodwood Tree
Corymbia opaca – a species of tree abundantly found in Australia is also known as desert bloodwood. It is quite similar to the African bloodwood tree species but a bit different in terms of leaves and flowers.
The desert bloodwood has a very rough bark across the trunk and has very different lance-shaped leaves. The flower buds are club-shaped whereas the fruits are urn-shaped. The tree grows to a height of 3 to 15 meters.
The corymbia opaca mostly occurs in its natural habitat of desert areas in Pilbara, Kimberley, and various desert regions of Western Australia and some of the central and southern parts of the Northern Territory.
The desert bloodwood trees grow on the sandy soils of Australia and on the hillslopes which are found in the alluvial areas.
Uses of Desert Bloodwood Tree
The list below contains the uses of desert bloodwood tree,
- Occasionally it is noticed that the bloodwood tree sheds off its pieces of the rough bar which causes the wound opening of the tree ‘naturally’.
- This makes a perfect path for the red sap ‘kino’ to flow out. The sap continues to flow till it is crystallized and covers the particular opening of the bark.
- The Australian natives collect this substance and later on use it as “bush medicine”
- This bush medicine is a sticky gum that is easily applied directly on cuts or sores and works magic on them as it is antiseptic in nature.
- The sap is also dried and later on crushed to formulate powder. The powder is used to be boiled in water to give a person an antiseptic watch.
- Another famous usage of bloodwood sap is to tap their “kangaroo-skin water bags”
- The roots of the desert bloodwood tree are known to store water inside. People dig up their roots and collect the water in containers to consume later.
- Bush coconuts are also collected from these particular trees which are produced by an insect living on the desert bloodwood tree. The galls are produced by the coccid moth’s larvae. These galls are said to contain an extraordinary edible grub that has a white flesh similar to coconut and is edible as well.
- The galls are as big as an apple but have a rough exterior.
Wooden balls are also made using the bark of bloodwood trees. They are made by the removal of an oval-shaped section from the top of the trunk. The fruit of the bloodwood tree is used for decoration.
The bloodwood tree is of great value, especially to the local people belonging to the central and southern African countries where these trees are found in abundance. But now they are getting less in number due to getting harvested insanely by the locals. These trees are getting harvested at a very sharp rate because of their uniqueness and special properties. This has led to extinction in many areas and this unsustainable rate has alarmed the geologists across the world.
The bloodwood trees attract a lot of tourists and travel enthusiasts who want to explore the world and want to explore the hidden gems of planet earth.
The bloodwood tree is known for its red sap which has the consistency of blood and it continues to amaze geologists and people across the globe.