Four members of the Kaxinawá Tribe from the Brazilian Amazon state of Acre, on the borders with Peru, visited Kew earlier this week to bless the plants in a traditional ceremony.
Spiritual leaders (Pajé) Txana Ikakuru and Isarewe Huni Kunin led the traditional blessing ceremony. They were accompanied by Dani Shawarakani on her first trip outside the homelands of the Kaxinawá.
The Pajé chanted two separate blessings while seated on the Palm House floor, covered in a bed of leaves for the occasion. The blessing invoked the forest guardian spirits and was for all the plants of the world. Photo credit: RBG, Kew.
It’s not often that you hear about one person who has single-handedly planted & nurtured a woodland as service to fellow human beings & wildlife. But Saalumarada Thimmakka is one such woman & still going strong at 105 years old!
Her woodland of native Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) trees in Karnataka, India bestows an invaluable gift for all her fellow villagers to benefit from & a legacy for future generations of all sentient life.
Saalumarada Thimmakkka – a Foundation has been created in her name to continue the inspirational work she started.
Subject of a poem by Pablo Neruda the Araucaria araucana trees hold their crowns way up high in the sky. So a recent trip with my fellow students to Castle Kennedy Gardens & Monreith provided us the perfect opportunity to sample nuts from these living relics that preceded dinosaurs in their native land of Patagonia.
Once you manage to peel off the tough leathery outer armoury & papery inner skin a cream coloured floury textured nut awaits, similar to a pine nut but larger.
Packed full of goodness it was a staple food for the Native Indians of Chile. The Pehuenche, People of the araucarias, revered this tree – it was central to their lives & used these beautiful large edible nuts or Piñones to make bread & a nutritious drink amongst other things.
Sampling my first ever Araucaria araucana nut in Castle Kennedy Araucaria araucana Tree Avenue.
I loved them so much I went foraging for more nuts at Monreith with fellow students; Gergő & Bálint.
Arucaria forest at Monreith. Photo credit Deák Gergő.