This species, native to Central America, belongs to the same family as the baobab and the ceiba or yaxché, the sacred tree of the Mayas, under whose shade the representatives of this culture are said to have withdrawn to meditate when they were in inner conflict.
However, for the Maya, the ceiba tree connected the different levels of the universe, from the underworld to the sky; in the Chilam Balam, a book from the colonial period, where ancient pre-Hispanic legends are collected, the story is told of a mythical ceiba tree that functioned as the axis or centre of the world, encompassing the three planes of the universe: the roots are Xibalba, the underworld, the trunk and branches are Cab or the terrestrial level, and the bird Quetzal, perched on top of its canopy, the sky. Thus, in Mayan artistic production, representations of the human body are associated with the ceiba tree, in a parallelism that assimilates human life to that of the tree itself. In this sense, from a mentality that today we would say ecological, representations such as the one on the sarcophagus of Pakal in the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque, where a plant sprouts from a man, highlight this symbol of the link between the human being and nature, where both are the same: the axis of the world.
Revered by pre-Hispanic civilisations or by the quetzal in their place of origin, ceibas are also very much loved by various birds and insects native to the Americas. In fact, their nectar is very attractive to hummingbirds and monarch butterflies, which act as the main pollinators of these species.