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Quararibea funebris - Rosita de cacao


Native to:



Central America

Moist to wet lowland and highland forests. 15 meters tall, up to 1600 meters above sea level.

Quararibea funebris - Rosita de cacao

Ecological value:

Hardy, can overcome brief periods of drought or mild frost. Succeeds in sun or shade. Quararibea asterolepis, a relative of Q. funebris, is known to support a wide range of wildlife and is pollinated by insects, bats and hummingbirds.

Material uses:

Perfume from oil extracted from flowers, but fragrance also found in wood. Good quality wood, strong, easy to work with but is not durable once exposed.

Edible uses:

Flower, traditionally eaten raw as a tasty popcorn-like snack or smoked with tobacco. Can be ground down or blended and added to home-made chocolate bars, cacao drinks, desserts, dips.

Medicinal use:

The flowers are mixed with chocolate and other ingredients to concoct Oaxacan cacao drink tejate, a spicy beverage with medicinal and religious significance. Used to control fevers.

Other details:

This energy drink, "the drink of the gods" was originally served only to the ruling elite of Aztecs. They also used to drink cold chocolate mixed with corn and the Rosita de Cacao which they called Poyomatli. Rare species. The Aztecs used it for fishing: scented wood of this tree attracts fishes.


Adrian Chiu/Christine Facella


“Quararibea Funebris - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 16, 2023.
Image source: Katherine Wagner-Reiss.

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