Photo by Simon Norfolk @simonnorfolkstudio I Territorially part of Yemen, Socotra (سُقُطْرَى in Arabic) is an archipelago of four islands. The largest island, also known as Socotra, lies about 240 km (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380km (240mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. As a consequence of its isolation, the island is home to a high number of endemic species; up to a third of its plant life is endemic. It has been described as the "most alien-looking place on Earth.” In the 1990s, a team of United Nations biologists conducted a survey of the archipelago’s flora and fauna and counted nearly 700 species found nowhere else; only New Zealand, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and the Galápagos Islands have more impressive numbers.
In the foreground, the Socotra desert rose, or bottle tree, can be seen—one of the island's endemic plants. The plant is highly poisonous and unpalatable to livestock, and despite being widespread on the island, is considered vulnerable and therefore included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
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