Dictionarium polygraphicum. Sanguis draconis, or Dragon's blood, a gum.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol II.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
Sanguis draconis, or Dragon's blood, a gum. The Indian dragon's blood is a gum, that distils or drops from the trunk of several trees, whole leaves are like sword-blades of half a foot long, and of a green colour; at the bottom of which grow round fruit, of the size of our cherries, that are yellow at first, and afterwards red, and of a beautiful blue when ripe; of which, when you have taken off the first or outward skin, it appears like a sort of dragon; and thence the tree is call'd dragon, and the juice dragon's blood.

The inhabitants of the country cut the trunks of the trees, and there presently flows a fluid liquor, that is as red as blood; which hardens as soon as the fun is gone off it, and forms it self into little brittle tears or crumbs, of a fine red colour.

When the first sort is fallen, there drops another, which is sometimes brought wrapt up in the leaves of the same tree, of the figure and size of a pigeon's egg, or of the length and thickness of one's little finger.

Chuse dragon's blood in little tears, clear and transparent, and very brittle, (but the best sort is very scarce.) That which comes in little reeds or flags, ought to be dry and easy to break; and which, when scor'd on paper or hot-glass, leaves behind it a beautiful red stain; upon which account, anciently, they us'd it to paint glass red.

This being diffus'd, or digested, in spirits of wine, yields a delicate blood-red colour; but in water, oil, or other liquors, scarce any colour at all.

This gum being finely ground, is us'd by goldsmiths for enamel; by jewellers to set foils under their precious stones for their greater lustre; by painters, varnishers, and japanners, to make varnish or japan, by mixing it with common or shell-lac, or leed-lac varnish.

The dragon's blood of the Canaries is a gum, that flows from the trunk and large branches of two different trees, after having been cut, the one of which has a leaf like the pear-tree, but a little longer; and the flowers bear a resemblance to the tags at the end of long laces, of a very fine red.

The leaves of the other come nearer to those of the cherry; and the fruit is yellow on the edges, of the bigness of an hen's egg, in which is found a nut of the shape of a nutmeg, which contains an almond or kernel of the same figure and size.

The islanders cut the trunks of those trees, from whence drops a red gum, which they make into balls of different sizes. Some soften the dragon's blood by the means of hot water, and so put it into reeds, in the same manner as those that come from India.

The Dutch furnish us with a sort of dragon's blood, which is in flat cakes, of a very deep red, and shining, as well on the outside as within; which being broke, is of a very fine red colour.

This dragon's-blood is nothing else but a mixture of the true dragon's-blood with other gums; which is so apparent, it is easy to discover, by breaking the mats, and casting it hot upon palmmats.

There is also another sort of this brought from Holland, made of gum Arabick, or that of senega, with a tincture or dye of the Fernambouke Brasil. But these two sorts being counterfeits, should be avoided, as not being comparable with the true.

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