Cacao in Eastern Guatemala - a sacred tree with ecological significance

Kufer, J., Grube, N. and Heinrich, M. (2006) Cacao in Eastern Guatemala - a sacred tree with ecological significance. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 8 (4). pp. 597-608. 10.1007/s10668-006-9046-3.

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DOI: 10.1007/s10668-006-9046-3


Since at least 600 BC, cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) has occupied a place of cultural importance in Mesoamerica. In many Maya groups its importance as a ritual food plant is second only to maize (Zea mays L.). The Ch’orti’ Maya and their culturally non-indigenous Ladino neighbours in Eastern Guatemala continue to use cacao for culinary and ceremonial purposes. Of particular importance are cacao uses in Ch’orti’ rain ceremonies, which are strongly connected to local environmental knowledge. The protection of cacao as a sacred tree may help to limit slash-and-burn maize agriculture to sustainable levels.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Full text available electronically
Uncontrolled Keywords:Agrarian rituals - Ch’orti’ Maya - Ethnobotany - Theobroma cacao - Spiritual ecology - Zea mays
Departments, units and centres:Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry > Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy
ID Code:520
Journal or Publication Title:Environment, Development and Sustainability
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:04 Jan 2007
Last Modified:10 Mar 2011 17:36

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