As a good Colombian, today I celebrate the Independence proclamation of my country! A country built upon dreams. And how could this be otherwise if it is the country that is guarded by the Samanea Saman.
Some in solitude and others arranged in bold lines. Blooming from south to north and east to west. Keeping within them the virtue of smiling at dreams. And it is that whoever has had the pleasure of sitting down to enjoy its shade; will be able to understand the magic that resides within these trees.
Native to tropical America, these rainforest specimens can grow as high as 25 meters (80 feet). With a large canopy, almost as big as the tree is tall. Sketching a giant umbrella on the horizon. A true connection between heaven and earth. As its foliage almost touches the ground, welcoming and protecting it. Leaving only a glimpse of air between its branches.
THE RAIN TREE
Between April and September, its delicate green foliage is elegantly covered by small pompom-like pink flowers. Although its most remarkable trait is perhaps the way the tree prepares for the rainy days. As the small leaflets bend over to the sky, in a magical and coordinated manner, almost like it was thanking the sky. Earning the tree one of its common names is “Rain tree” although it is also popularly known as “monkeypod.”
Loaded with magic, the Samanea Saman, is a tree ready to amaze us! You can even say it “embellishes” the streets of the most important cities in Colombia. One of them, Cali – Colombia; a city close to my heart and childhood. And as the salsa of the “Guayacan Orquesta” praises when you are in Cali… “huele a caña, tabaco y brea” (it smells like sugarcane, tobacco, and tar). And if you have been to the city, you’ll understand the meaning and feeling of being in what’s fondly known as the “sucursal del Cielo” (Heaven’s gate).
Because once you’re off the plane heading to the city, you’ll find rows of great samans that stand still and fiercely as if they were protecting the cane fields. And is that surrounding the city, placed in cardinal points within Cali (Colombia) you’ll be amazed at how many Samanea Samans guard the city.
One of them stands tall to the west, in between the mountains and the river; just by a “La Tertulia” a famous museum. While it shelters the open auditorium.
To the north at Menga, or to the south of the city on the highway, wanderers will be able to admire the beauty of these specimens. And in the spirit of not falling short, Cali has around 105 Samanea Samans guarding the city.
THE SAMANEA SAMAN OF GUACARÍ
But the Samanea Saman (Rain Tree) has left a much greater footprint in Colombian history, especially in Guacarí (Valle de Cauca) where a gigantic Saman used to live, covering a vast extension of the main park, from corner to corner. Its giant umbrella canopy provided shade for all. Being subject of admiration in Colombia to the extent that Manzur (Colombian painter) chose it as the face of the Colombian 500 pesos coin. Later replaced by a native frog.
“EL GRAN CAUCHO” OF SAN MARCOS
But moving further north, in the town of San Marcos (Sucre), you will find perhaps one of the biggest trees in Colombia a Samanea Saman called ‘El Caucho’ which many still confuse with the great ‘Guacarí.’ Located only two kilometers from the town, along the road that leads to Sincelejo in ‘La Perla del San Jorge.’ Almost like a mountain, with branches brazing the ground as many aerial roots of the specimen detached to maintain its spread of almost 75 m.
And these are just some of the places in the country where the mythical Samanea saman stands. With open, welcoming arms, silently thriving in a nation built upon dreams.
So, this July 20, while I celebrate miles away. I will join in the cry of independence, which I wish will continue to honor: the nation’s freedom, independence, and integrity.
If you want to include the beautiful Samanea Samana in your next landscape project, contact us or call us @ (305) 968 -2427 to check our availability!