Guachipilín

20 guachipilín 2Diphysa robinioides, known as “Guachipilín” in Guatemala, is another of my favorite trees. It is a slow-growing species with deeply furrowed bark, pinnate leaves, and bright yellow flowers. It belongs to the bean family, Fabaceae, and is native to the Mesoamerican region. Though not very large, it is long-lived, which – together with its coarse bark – makes it an ideal phorophyte (which means that epiphytes love to grow on it). It is native to the valley of Guatemala City, where it is still found scattered throughout. I’ve also seen it growing among the forests around Lake Atitlán, often with Oncidium, Scaphyglottis, and Trichocentrum attached to its branches.

I brought a seedling from the lake with me once, perhaps eight years ago, and planted it in my garden, where it’s already producing seed. Guachipilines are usually in bloom towards the end of the year. The picture with the flowers is of a tree that grows along the Vista Hermosa Boulevard; the one of a larger tree’s silhouette is of a large specimen found in Santa Elena Barillas.

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20 guachipilín

Diphysa robinioides, el Guachipilín chapín, es otra de mis especies favoritas. Es un árbol de crecimiento lento y corteza profundamente surcada, hojas pinnaticompuestas, y flores brillantemente amarillas. Pertenece a la familia del frijol, Fabaceae, y es nativo de la región Mesoamericana. Aunque no es muy grande, vive mucho tiempo, lo cual – junto con su corteza áspera – lo hace un forófito ideal (eso significa que a las epífitas les encanta crecer en él). Es originario del Valle de la Ermita, donde se encuentra disperso en todas partes. También lo he visto en los bosques alrededor del Lago de Atitlán, comúnmente con Oncidium, Scaphyglottis, y Trichocentrum anclados a sus ramas.

Una vez me traje un pequeño plantón del lago, tal vez hace ocho años, y lo sembré en mi jardín, donde ya está produciendo semillas. Los guachipilines generalmente florecen durante los últimos meses del año. La foto de las flores es de un árbol que crece a orilla del Boulevard Vista Hermosa; la foto de la silueta es de un árbol mayor que vive en Santa Elena Barillas.

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Diphysa robinioides Benth.

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About Challen Willemsen

Passionate about orchids and the Dharma, I'm a lover of this planet wandering through a garden. Intermittently I'm an ecologist, a graphic designer, an editor, a translator, a Spanish teacher, a writer, a gardener, a photographer, and occasionally a poet. Though I studied environmental science focused on ecology, in my heart I'm a botanist. También soy un amante de Guatemala, enamorado de sus bosques y sus epífitas.

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