Manitas tree, Canak Chiranthodendron pentadactylon FLAAR Studio
DOWNLOAD

During January 2015 one of the FLAAR botany study team was climbing a volcano near Antigua, Guatemala, and she noticed a Canak tree (manitas, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, also spelled Canac). This tree has a bizarre-shaped flower which is still sold in local markets for medicinal use. A thousand years ago this flower was also used as an ingredient in variants of cacao beverages by the Maya and Aztec.

Chiranthodendron-pentadactylon-canak-manitas-acatenango-volcano-NH-Jan-2015-photograpy 3446

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
Chiranthodendron-pentadactylon-canak-manitas-acatenango-volcano-NH-Jan-2015-image-DSC2432
Chiranthodendron pentadactylon

 

After hearing of the canak trees, we drove to the volcano base and climbed an hour or so to the elevation where the canak trees grew. In the village where you park your cars I noticed one of the sheds of the parking lot was roofed with a grass-like straw. This reminded me of the ak used for roofing (by the Q'eqchi' Mayan people) in areas of Alta Verapaz and adjacent Izabal.

While hiking down the volcano (after photographing several canak trees), I asked to take a different route than we had climbed up. Out of sheer luck this alternate trail led by several large clumps of tall grass.

Chiranthodendron-pentadactylon-canak-manitas-acatenango-volcano-NH-Jan-2015-DSC2437
Chiranthodendron pentadactylon

 

The guide had already noticed my interest in plants in general and thatch in particular, so he stopped at the grass and mentioned that this was the grass the local Mayan people used for straw thatch in the Acatenango area. He said the name in the local language was k'im (pardon my lack of linguistic finesse, as I did not have a take recorder). But this must be close, as in another Highland Mayan language, Mam the word for straw is ch'im kchil ch'im - tall grass used in roofing.
www.lrc.salemstate.edu/mam/mamdictionary.pdf

Grass-thatch-acatenango-volcano-NH-Jan-2015-image-DSC2453
Grass used to thatch houses

 

Nowadays there are not many houses using grass thatch, one reason being that when kids set off fireworks on birthdays and public holidays, some firecrackers shoot up, or fall down, onto a thatch roof, setting an entire house on fire. Plus a tin roof and concrete block walls are conceived of as higher status for many local people than wooden pole walls and a thatch roof.

Every individual has the right to have their house the style and material they prefer, but it is helpful to record the traditions of pre-industrial cultures. Grass today is ironically considered very eco-friendly and very chic for elite boutique hotels.

Grass-thatch-acatenango-volcano-NH-Jan-2105-DSC2452
Grass used to thatch houses

 

Here is the start of a linguistic comparison of names of thatch grass

Q'EQCHI'

KAKCHIQUEL

KAKCHIQUEL var.

Español

English

AK

K'im

K'in

Paja

Grass

 

Posted January 30, 2015.

More FREE DOWNLOADS

Dubai_Garden_Glow_SGI_2017_FLAAR_Web_Free_Download
706082 D PES 2014 solvent eco solvent printers full exhibitor list Part I
Articles by FLAAR Reports for REVUE Magazine

If you wish to donate your library on pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and related topics, FLAAR will be glad to receive your library and find a good home for it. Contact:

ReaderService@FLAAR.org

DYE COLORANTS from MAYA PLANTS

FOODS OF THE MAYA ROOT CROPS

Q’eqchi’-Spanish-English Dictionary Segments

2012 Prophecies of the end Mayan calendar

GigaPan Epic Pro System

TECHNOLOGY, BOOK REVIEWS on Digital Imaging, especially 3D

Private Museums of Mayan Archaeology

Ixchel

Suchitepequez

Agriculture, diet, food

Maya Vase Rollouts

Minerals & Stones Pre-columbian Mesoamerica

Maya ethnohistory

Mayan languages of Guatemala

Museums of Mayan Archaeology

Carlos Pellicer, Tabasco

Lectures on Maya topics Now available

Travel / Hotels

Guatemala City

Chichicastenango

Baja Verapaz

Additional links of our FLAAR sites

Archaeology of Iran

linkedin2
twitter
twitter

Join the over 2,468
wide-format inkjet, digital imaging,
signage, and related individuals worldwide
who are linked to FLAAR Reports
via Dr Nicholas Hellmuth.

We have two sets of Tweets: digital imaging tweets
(printers, inks, media, etc)

Mayan studies tweets (archaeology, ethnobotany,
ethnozoology
of Guatemala)