From the largest cities to the smallest towns, flamboyanes can be found everywhere in Yucatán.
But for roughly six years now, this beloved flowering plant has been under siege by a plague that weakens its strong trunks. And it’s getting worse.
The plague is believed to impact mature flamboyanes the hardest, which has resulted in a dwindling amount of the pink, flowering trees on the Peninsula.
As a result, severe storms have been downing large flamboyanes fairly regularly.
Famboyanes can be protected, up to a point, with insecticides containing imidacloprid.
“This is a very sad situation, as flamboyanes have become one of Yucatán’s most beloved species. There is no easy solution to this problem,” said Marlene Collí, of Vivero Collí near Valladolid.
Despite being so closely associated with Yucatán, and even having a Mayan name, chac lol ché, the flamboyan was actually introduced to the Peninsula in the 17th century from Madagascar. The flamboyan is beloved not only for its ample shade but also for its flowers, which create a bright tapestry on its branches and the ground.
Given the current situation, Mérida’s government and the electric tram public transit program have come under increased scrutiny for cutting down several flamboyanes, most recently in Avenida Pérez Ponce.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize the environment of the IE Tram project and are planting new trees whenever we are forced to fell existing specimens,” said a press statement from Yucatán’s sustainability department.
One of the few solutions available to citizens is to seed new trees and simply hope for the best.
The best season to plant new flamboyanes is during the spring. The plants require plenty of sun and watering two to three times a week.