Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mucajá palms in full dress

Seeing these three mucajá palms (Acrocomia aculeata) with old fronds hanging down over their spiny trunks reminds me of Francisco de Orellana's trip down the Amazon River in 1541-42, and how the river came to be called the Amazon. You'll remember that Orellana was the first European to sail down the river and it was on this trip that he and his crew encountered what they thought were women warriors in their palm/grass skirts. Historians seem to agree that they were probably men, not women. Nevertheless, the Spaniards remembered the Greek legend of the Amazons, those legendary women warriors who removed one of their breasts so as to better their aim with bows and arrows. Thus, they gave the name Amazon to the largest river in the world.

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