Metteniusa edulis , Karst 1860. This endemic tree, exclusive to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is more important than it seems. Its ecological and ethnological prominence is outstanding as well as unknown. Thanks to the member of the Fundación Nativa, Mama José Miguel Nuevita, who has been able to teach us about this extraordinary tree and from this information and the verification in the field we can assure that this tree with its nuts has been and continues to be the nutritional base of this original society of the upper middle part of the massif, the demonstration of the gathering preponderance of the Kággaba or Kogi. These kanzhí cloud forests are anchored in the mountain-shaped rocks , which from afar it can be seen as a skin that covers them, only absent on the walls.
Its distribution ranges from 2,200 to 2,800 meters above sea level. Although the border of the Kanji jungles have suffered from human pressure, they are preserved. They are large trees that, when together, produce a very stable niche, an autonomous cloud forest, to the point of finding Atelopus sp. Toads . in the understory, amphibians very demanding of the purity and stability of the ecosystem. The bustling presence of flocks of parrots from the Sierra Nevada Pyrrhura viridicata stands out, endemic closely associated with the kanzhí jungles in fruit, which together with Aratinga wawlery consume it.
These territories have not been colonized by the West, they are places where the original coherence lives, an understanding protected with the everyday perfected to the point of being a community without enigmas, they know the meaning of things clearly differentiating the essential from the rest. They are places where the communities from their origin to the present have not broken the thread of their History and that makes them exceptional, where the past is in front and the present and the future behind. It is here where this nut reigns, where humans venerate it for all that it means, the harvest coincides with the end of the year, the summer solstice, the feast of the sun, but before taking this divine fruit, they give thanks by paying in thought and the mamas danced in light dresses with bitter palm skirts and masks for four nights.
Although the nutritional composition of the walnut is unknown, it is not difficult to conclude that its use is nutritious. It is part of the select food that allows students to feed sufficiently to mothers who do not eat salt or food with blood. In the mamas formation sites called Izuama , this nut is prepared in a special clay pot for cooking without salt called Mogzú . For the rest of the community, after it is harvested, it is placed in containers with water and salt on the fire, followed by consumption, its cover is easily broken to bare a sphere of all edible biomass with a consistency like that of a chickpea, sandy and pleasant to the touch. taste, only that at the end of eating it leaves a bitter taste that is easily tolerated.
Kanzhí in a cauldron to toast.
Nuts are the best load to carry, some are eaten to satiety and others are kept in the wattle that each house has on the stove. The smoke preserves them for several months, over time they become sweet, it is a favorite food for trips because of its quality, but also when arriving at a house it is a very good present that is rewarded with food.
The kanzhí forests will continue to exist due to the kággaba presence , and with them all the biodiversity that depends, being these cloud forests in these rock mountains, those responsible for sustaining the streams of their basins such as the Kavikonwe that feeds the main river of Wide river. Everything that lives in this basin has its own and isolated base, a pristine place that vindicates the human in balance, an essence that configures a pragmatic idea of the Universe itself.
In 1860 the German botanist Gustav Karl Wilhelm Hermann Karsten published the book Flora Colombiana in two volumes, after having spent a 12-year season in Colombia and neighboring countries studying plants, stimulated in Berlin by all the stories that Humboldt told on his return. from America. H. Karsten apparently enters the Rioancho basin until reaching the town of San Miguel, in his report he notes 2000 meters of altitude above sea level as the location for the collection of plant samples for the determination of the Metteniusa species edulis Krst, the name of the species is dedicated by the author to his professor of Botany Dr. G. Mettenios. In the description, he highlights the importance of this tree and its nuts for the "arguacos" inhabitants, as all the natives were called, and also writes Canchí as the local name of the tree. The drawing is made by the author of the description himself, who is 160 years old after being published.
This video shows for the first time the tree, the landscape and the people where the kanzhí reign.