Guanacaste trees on Guanacaste Day

Today Costa Rica celebrates the Día de la Anexión de Guanacaste which happened in 1824, as per request by the population of the then Nicaraguan Guanacaste. Therefore there is no need to get your knickers in a twist about annexations and such. After all, the Guanacastecos’ slogan goes:
“De la Patria por Nuestra Voluntad”
But enough of politics. In honor of this CR National Holiday, I wanted to show you a few pictures of the tree, which not only represents the cattle growing region of Guanacaste but has become the National Tree of all of Costa Rica. For additional information, check out the Guanacaste info on wiki.
Seed pods growing on a leafless tree in January
During the summer (December through April) many trees may lose their leaves briefly. This is the fruit growing season and the Guanacaste trees grow really funky looking, large seed pods, sometimes called elephant ears.
By about April, the pods have ripened and are getting ready to drop to the fertile ground.
Since this is also the beginning of the wet season, there will soon be plenty of moisture to promote the germination of the seeds contained within those elephant ears.
The bark of these large trees may take on a wide range of appearances depending on its age, location, and the season. It varies from smooth and light grey to deeply craggy and bluish-black. Especially during the wet season, the bark houses a teeming biotope of lichen, moss, fungi and small animals.
And sometimes one finds evidence of past human interference, too.



Owing to its tremendous crown, the Guanacaste is a wonderful shade tree in it’s “home region” of Guanacaste Province. It also provides a dramatic backdrop, when billowing fog meanders through the canyons and swirls around the mountain tops of the Central Valley.


9 thoughts on “Guanacaste trees on Guanacaste Day

  1. Dear Sister,
    I’m honored and humbled that you chose the image of the Guanacaste seed for your memorial of the four martyred Churchwomen. I’m a biologist and the metamorphoses of beings, the becoming as it were, is a continual surprise, a delight to observe, and an obligation to respect. During your Zoom celebration, I could clearly see that the memory of the four Sisters has already been a blessing and that it will continue to fortify the resolve of those following in their footsteps.
    With my best wishes to you and your community,


  2. Dear Claudia,
    During our preparation of the 40th Anniversary of the Four Churchwomen, we have thanked you again and again for your photo of the Guanacaste seed. It imaged all we want to express of the energy and life coming from death. Thank you for that gift. Here is a direct link to the video: We know that over 4000 folks saw the zoom and Youtube connection. Amazing.
    And do see the Bethlehem star Dec. 16-21 – google it for more info. May the mystery of its light brighten your holidays in these most difficult times.


  3. So comforting to connect across the miles heart to heart. The beauty of the trees and its new life continues to energize us. Thank you so much for use of your photos. Muchas gracias por todo.


  4. Dear Sister Margaret, thank you for your good wishes during this pandemic. Nature, and in particular trees are sustaining life and thus hope. I would be honored if any of my images could bring you a messure of peace in the face of unspeakable horror. Please feel free to use any image you wish! This Guanacaste tree was right outside our home in Atenas, Costa Rica. It hosted a multitude to birds bringing us endless joy. I do hope that the memory of your Sisters will be a blessing for your community. Stay safe 😷 cordially, Claudia MK Leon


  5. Hello. I am a Maryknoll Sister and I ask your permission to use some of your photos for a prayer service about Four Churchwomen brutally murdered in El Salvador in 1980. A grove of Guanacaste trees surrounds the place where they were first buried in a shallow grave in San Pedro Nonualco, El Salvador. Your photos show new life arising from the seeds. Can we use your photos for a prayer via ZOOM to our Sisters and friends all over the world? I will gladly share more with you if you want.
    I hope your and your loved ones are safe and well in these difficult times of Covid19.
    Sr. Margaret Dillon, MM Maryknoll Sisters, 100 Pinesbridge Road, Maryknoll, NY 10545-03121


  6. ditto Collagemama. dieser baum strahlt eine immense fascination aus. kein wunder, dass er der “National Tree” of CR ist. Deine aufnahmen sind unglaublich gut!!!


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