Cantuta: flower of the Incas

I was told that the cantuta, qantu or ccantu was regarded as a sacred flower in Inca times and it was used to worship their Sun God. Even today, some indigenous communities gather this flower to show respect and devotion to their Apus or sacred mountains.

After hiking from Cusco to Tambomachay I found this beautiful flower, which is the Peruvian National Flower, at the entrance of this archaeological site.


Cantuta flower and Pukapukara in the background

My Scholar Side:

While I was searching  for the scientific name of the cantuta, I found that this flower is part of an Inca legend which it is very interesting.

By the way, its botanical name is Cantua Buxifolia even though I have also read on an explanation board at the archaeological site of Pukapukara the name Bomarea and they look alike.


Beautiful cantuta at the entrance of the Tambomachay archaeological site

It is hard to find this flower nearby the city of Cusco nowadays so I was very happy to spot it just by luck at Tambomachay.

You may want to read these posts too:

Temple of Water in Cusco

Qenqo the hike

Temple of Monkeys in Cusco


About Peru En RoUte

Natural-born backpack traveller around Peru
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4 Responses to Cantuta: flower of the Incas

  1. Exacto, Cusco merece por lo menos una semana para conocer “lo turistico”.

  2. Rafael says:

    un par de días no es nada en el Cusco

  3. Thanks!!!
    Cusco is a city where you have to keep your eyes wide open to discover amazing things!!!

  4. Doctor B.Bubonic says:

    Nice flora. I am heading up to Cusco in a couple of days, will keep an eye out when exploring the surroundings. Beltin site by the way, its helped me out with alot of good info.

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