The Legend of the Ceibo (Cockspur Coral tree)

Legend of the Ceibo
According to legend this tree flower is the soul of the Indian queen Anahi, the ugliest of an indomitable tribe that lives on the banks of the Parana River.

But Anahi had a beautiful voice, purhaps the most beautiful voice ever heard in those parts. She was also rebelious like the rest of her people and a lover of freedom like the birds of the forest. One day she was taken prisoner, but with bravery and determination she killed the guard who watched over her.

From that very moment her destiny was sealed and she was condemned to be burned at the stake the very next night. She was tied to a short jungle tree with wide leaves. Slowly Anahi was enveloped by the flames.

The witnesses to her execution watched in amazement as the body of the Indian queen gradually took on a strange new form and little by little was transformed into a graceful tree, odorned with red flowers.

The next morning in a nearby clearing in the forest stood a radiant Ceibo in full flower.

(The "Ceibo" of this legend refers to the Cockspur Coral tree (Erythrina Crista-galli) that is common in South America and is the national tree and flower of Argentina. Don´t confuse this tree with others such as the Ceiba Pubiflora that are totally different)


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post!! I am going to an Argentina Party and want to know the national tree of Argentina. Do you believe this to be the national tree as well as the national flower? I also read that there is a tree the Molocalili that is endangered that was or might be the national tree of Argentina? I can not find anymore info on the Molocalili.

  2. Yes I do believe that the Ceibo is both the national tree and national flower. I´ve never heard of the Molocalili though.

  3. We visited Argentina this fall and saw this tree. I was in love with it at first sight. Living in Colo. and now busy skiing do not know if this tree will survive in Colo. or not, have a greenhouse entryway, to our house so could grow it in the house if it will not make it in our climate. Where might one buy this beautiful tree?

  4. Oh great, my girlfriend has named our daughter Anahi...which means ugly tripe queen with beautiful voice that is burned alive and turns into a tree with with a beautiful flower. Not exactly Jone of Arch....

    1. Ana Jan 30
      Arg living in Australia and thrilled to find this tree in local park - nobody knows how it came to be here. Growing one now with hopes
      The name Anahi is in many beautiful songs, mostly Paraguayan (Guarani)
      lovely so a great name for your daughter.

  5. Well, I think this is a beatiful story and name. I mean, I am named Anahi so I have to vouch for it.

  6. Nothing is ugly if the inner soul is beautiful like ceibo or anahi.
    Fascinating legend.