Palo di Boonchi
At the start of the dry season many local trees are setting flowers. One of them is the ‘Palo di Boonchi’ (Erythrina velutina). Just like the Kibrahacha (Tabebuia Bilbergii) the tree looses all its leaves and stands only with its flowers, which are orange colored. In the dry season people can recognize the ‘Palo di boonchi’ by its thick trunk with corkish appearance and covered by small thick thorns.
The flowers have orange petals, are 5 cm. long and stand at the end of the branches. The ‘Palo di Boonchi’ is one of the endemic species of Aruba, but only 30 to 40 trees are known to grow in the wilderness. On the American continent it is found from Panama to Brazil. The timber of this tree is very light, whereas it was used a lot in the local fishery. The tree is also considered to possess medicinal qualities. Besides the ‘Palo di boonchi’ there are other Erythrinas flowering in the local gardens, but these have different flowers, that are red colored.
Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries (DLVVM) has some trees of ‘Palo di Boonchi’ in its garden at Piedra Plat #114 A, between the Protestant Church and the Piedra Plat bridge. The trees can be seen by the public during office hours. It is advisable to call in advance at Tel.: +297 585-8102. Those who like to see them in the wild can look for them at Shidaharaca in the National Park Arikok. These trees are rare so everyone is advised not to damage them.
This tree type is indigenous to Aruba though endemic. Their conservation for future generations is among the tasks of DLVVM. This can be better done in their original habitat and the department awaits therefore the introduction of the zonification law. Alternatively DLVVM promotes them also for the local gardens and have small plants in pots for sale at the above mentioned address.
For more information call +297 585-8102 or email Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries directly.
[Information courtesy of Mr. Facundo Franken of the Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries (DLVVM) - Nature Management]