The dragon tree is extremely slow-growing, taking 8 - 11 years to reach just 2 – 3 feet, when it begins to flower. Flowering occurs almost simultaneously on the Canary Islands, taking place only every 15 years (6). The flowering causes the stem to branch, resulting in a highly branched tree which can be aged according to the number of branches. The oldest individual is thought to be more than 650 years old (5). The sap of this species is used as colouring matter for varnishes, tooth-pastes, tinctures and plasters (4).