Puerto Vallarta is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are certain varieties of plants that have become iconic to our beautiful city. For me, the Parota tree reminds me of Vallarta’s unparalleled beauty. I was inspired to write a bit about these gentle giants because this is the time of the year (June) that their foliage begins to miraculously reappear. After a few months of sporting bare branches, these trees are beginning to sprout incredibly bright green baby leaves, despite the lack of precipitation.
The parota is among the most majestic and aesthetically pleasing of tree species in its native range. Tolerant of a wide range of rainfall levels, temperatures and soil conditions, they can thrive in most low-elevation, tropical habitats. Parota trees are highly valued as ornamentals, and the shade they provide creates many an oasis on the searing and sun-baked plains in its Pacific slope habitat.
It is widely grown as a shade tree to shelter coffee plantations and for shade for cattle. It also improves soil fertility by adding nitrogen to soil.
The parota tree is believed to provide medical benefits. In Mexican folk medicine, the sap is thought to aid illnesses such as the flu and bronchitis, while the astringent properties of its green fruit is used for diarrhea. The fruit and bark also contain tannins, which are useful for leather curing and soap manufacturing, while the sap can be used as a natural adhesive or substitute for glue, or chewed as a type of gum.
More commonly, we see many options for furniture made from the wood. This hardwood is very pest resistant, making it a popular choice for buyers.
Have you seen a Parota tree in Puerto Vallarta? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! – John
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