Chiranthodendron pentadactylon - Devil's Hand, Mācpalxōchitl

OVERVIEW

 Chiranthodendron leaf.

Chiranthodendron leaf.

The Genus Chiranthrodendron comprises a single species, C. pentadactylon. The tree is called the Devil's, monkey's or Mexican hand tree or the hand-flower in English, the árbol de las manitas (tree of little hands) in Spanish, and mācpalxōchitl (palm flower) in Nahuatl, all on account of its distinctive red flowers, which resemble open human hands.Common names include Arbol de las Manitas (Spanish), and mācpalxōchitl (palm flower) in Nahuatl.

ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION

The tree is native to Guatemala and S. Mexico, growing to 10.5–27.5 m (35–90 feet) in height. I took the photos in this post at the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden in California. Fortunately my timing was perfect to collect seed which I then propagated. Five years later I have 40 ft tall trees in the ground. 

USES AND ETHNOBOTANY

 Chiranthodendron mature seedpod.

Chiranthodendron mature seedpod.

From what limited ethnobotanical information I can find: solutions containing the tree’s flowers are used as remedy for lower abdominal pain and to treat heart ailments. Similar solutions are used to reduce edema and serum cholesterol levels and are used as diuretics.

 Chiranthodendron mature seedpod.

Chiranthodendron mature seedpod.