The Soqotra Archipelago (sometimes spelled Socotra) contains one of the richest and best-preserved dry tropical floras in the world. It contains over 850 flowering plant species, of which some 300 are endemic including such botanical oddities as the cucumber tree (Dendrosicyos socotranus) and the dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari).
It has been described as the "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean". However, major developments planned for the islands pose a real threat to Soqotra’s unique biodiversity. Following Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour's historic expedition in 1879-80, staff at RBGE have since 1989 made a number of expeditions to the islands and are now playing a leading role in providing the data and expertise necessary to conserve its globally important biodiversity.