It would seem that after a particularly benevolent “winter,” the heat has returned to Yucatán. This of course means several things, among them getting more use out of your pool, outings to the beach, and many cold drinks to try to keep sweat at bay.
While some may smirk at the idea of seasons in Yucatán, they are in fact much a real thing beyond cycles of heat and even worse heat — though there is some truth to that. Beautiful flowers can be seen all over Yucatán throughout the year, but it’s with the coming of spring that ratchets things up to 11.
Blues, yellows, purples, and reds suddenly seem to be everywhere, as the intense sunshine beats down upon the heat-loving flora of the Yucatán, contrasting with the Peninsula’s clear blue skies.
One of the most striking flowers to make its appearance during this time of year is the flower of the pseudobombax ellipticum, known locally as the amapola, pelo de angel (angel’s hair) or chak k’uuyche in Yucatec-Maya.
This spectacular flower native to Yucatán and Central America makes its appearance in gardens and avenues across the Peninsula starting in late February and tends to stick around until late May.
The amapola is often used during Easter celebrations to adorn churches and altars but is also said to have medicinal properties.
In Central America, the amapola is said to be fermented to produce a spirit which I once heard a friend from El Salvador describe to be among the most coma-inducing he had ever tried.
Another variety of commonly seen pink flowers is the Bauhinia variegata, known in Yucatán as falsa orquidea, or false orchid.
These false orchids have edible buds which can be collected and are used in traditional Indian cuisine, including Kachnar curry.
Despite the fact that all true orchid species are transplants from abroad, with a little care, even store-bought orchids can be nourished to bloom again and again in Yucatán.