Natural Wonders of Mexico
Learn more about our flora through its trees
Mexican cenotes, besides being beautiful places for eco-tourism activities, have great value for being open windows to the underground biodiversity. Near them inhabits a wide variety of flora, some endemic species, and others that the ancient Maya cultivated to capitalize on its fruit. These trees are some of the most frequently found around them.
Keep reading to learn about five trees of the Yucatan Peninsula you may see during your visit to a cenote (and some fun facts about them).
Fun Facts about the Cacao Tree:
1. Cacao belongs to the genus Theobroma, which in Greek means “Food of the Gods”.
2. The fruit grows in an unusual way: directly from the trunk and older branches.
3. The seed is commercially used for the preparation of chocolate.
4. Mesoamerican people valued cacao so much, that they used it as currency.
Fun Facts about the Quenepa Tree:
1. Its fruit has many medicinal properties, the main ones are that it activates the immune system and increases resistance because of protein production; it’s a good Vitamins C herbal remedy.
2. It’s a seasonal fruit harvested between June and August.
3. It’s a wild growth tree, which grows from sea level and up to 109 yards above it.
4. It is known by many different names: Spanish lime, genip, guinep, genipe, ginepa, quenepa, quenepe, chenet, canepa,mamon, limoncillo, skinip, kinnip, ackee, mamoncillo; among others.
Fun Facts about Sapodilla Tree:
1. It can’t be overlooked, as it can measure up to 43 yards high, and has a very colorful foliage.
2. Its trunk has a milky and sticky resin: gum
3. The Mayans were the first to use the resin to chew, although they did it with natural rubber: no added flavors or some kind of sweetener.
4. The fruit was already part of the diet of the ancient Maya in prehispanic times.
Fun Facts about the Coconut Palm:
1. It has a very peculiar trunk —up to 22 to 32 yards high— with smooth gray bark marked by the annular scars of old leaves.
2. Its leaves are pinnate, long, arching and up to 6 yards in length.
3. It is believed that it is probably the most cultivated plant in the world.
4. It can grow well on sandy and saline soils.
Fun Facts the Ceiba Tree:
1. It is a giant tree: it can reach over 76 yards high and 3 yards of trunk diameter.
2. The fruit is very peculiar, it is a pod containing 200 seeds from where the kapok is extracted: a much lighter and stronger fiber than cotton.
3. It is the national tree of Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
4. It was sacred to the Maya. Its height made them believe that their branches supported the heavens, while its deep roots were the means of communication between the world of the living and the Underworld.
Pay close attention to your next visit to Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche, as you may have the chance to see these wonderful trees.