The strange trees of Socotra Island
The strange Island of Socotra looks like one would expect some distant alien planet similar to Earth, familar yet strange and alien.
Socotra Island is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian ocean just to the north-east of the ‘horn of Africa’
What’s remarkable about the Island is that the Fauna , unique to this Island, is amongst the strangest we have seen, unlike the conventional tree forms we are accustomed to , the tree’s of Socotra, in particular the Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari) “described as an upturned, densely-packed crown having the shape of an uprightly held umbrella. The tree is named after the dark red resin it produces, known as “dragon’s blood”
What’s interesting from a design/game perspective is how these ‘mushroom’ tree’s are reminiscent of virtual flora found in Morrowind & Phantasy Star Online:AOTI,
Phantasy Star Online:AOTI
Virtual Flora is games tends to be designed and inspired from flora native to the western hemisphere(how often are Bamboo forests, despite their beauty, uniqueness and strange form featured in games?), the Island of Socotra again highlights how varied nature can be in it’s basic forms, and how virtual landscape designers need to be aware of the array of forms in something as simple as the deceitfully simple tree can take.
The Flora on the Island appears to be a surviving remnant from the Tethys Era, where flora shaped like what is found on Socotra could have been common place throughout the region, perhaps out we are still to find other strange, weird and wonderful remnants of flora that once thrived on the planet.