Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ceiba Tree

On the path leading into the Tikal ruins, there is a huge Ceiba tree beside the trail.  The Ceiba was sacred to the Maya, who beleived it connected the planes of the Underworld (Xibalba), the skies and the terrestrial realm.

The Ceiba is prevalent all over Central America, giving its name to cities in Honduras and Puerto Rico.  The tree was grown commercially for much of the first half of the 20th century, when it was commonly known as the Kapok tree.  Its fruit provides the kapok fibers that were used in life preservers and auto upholstery until synthetic alternatives were developed.  

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