The national flower
of Peru is the
Cantuta (often spelled Kantuta or Qantuta, from Quechua qantu)(cantua
buxifolia). It can be found at the high valleys of the Andean territory, in
Peru and Bolivia.
The Inca legend associated
with the Cantuta is the tale of two kings named Illimani and Illampu, and
their sons. Both kings were powerful and wealthy rulers of a vast country in
the Kollasuyo region , and both had a son they and their people held in
great esteem. But as time passed, the kings became irritated at each other's
prosperity, and eventually one of them attacked the other.
During the battle, both
kings were mortally wounded by their counterpart, and were carried away. On
their dying bed, both called their son and had them make the vow to avenge
them, even if both sons were opposed to the war in the first place. Bound by
their pledge, they prepared and led a second war even though they held no
grudge against each other. History repeated, and both sons inflicted a fatal
wound to the other.
But instead of harsh words,
they generously forgave each other, and asked that their servants place them
side by side on the green grass of the battlefield. Then appeared Pachamama,
Goddess of Fertility, who told the young kings before they died that they
shouldn't have suffered from their father's unjustified enmity. To punish
their dead fathers, their stars fell from the sky, and became the snow
covered mountains still named Illimani and Illampu, which are the highest
peaks in the region.
The rivers of their snow
slowly melting are their tears of regret, and fertilized the valleys. The
Cantuta bloomed as a symbol of the people's unity, and bear the two colours
of the king's sons (red and yellow), as well as green (standing for hope).
Common names include
Cantuta, Ccantu, Flor del inca, Khantuta, Magic-flower, Magic-flower-of-the-Incas,
The Flowers of the embroided
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