Ark of taste
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Ñandubay (Prosopis affinis), also known as algarrobillo, is a plant distributed throughout Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The name , Ñandubay, in the guarani people’s language, means: fruit that the Ñandú bird (native rhea bird from Patagonia) cuts to eat.
It is a deciduous tree that grows up to 8 meters high, with a short thick trunk, and a large top. Its fruit is a type of legume in the shape of a sickle. It flourishes from September to January and the harvest takes place in the middle of summer. It is an important tree in open forests covering a grass swath; on stony soils, flat meadows, riverside forests. It prefers humid and flooded places, and even if it grows better between 600-1,200 mm rainfall, it tolerates drought. It also protects undergrowth vegetation from winter frosts and provides shade in summer. It is usually recommended for reforestation projects.

The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber, is semi-cultivated as a fodder plant or for the production of durable fence posts in South America. It is planted in Hawaii for use in the production of honey. A mix made with its honey and leaves are used to heal scars. Its edible seeds are roasted and milled into flour that has digestive and tranquilizing properties. The roasted flour of the seeds is used as an infusion. The legumes have a high nutritional value and the seeds are rich in tannins.

There is a legend, told among Guarani people, who live across several countries in South America, and then written by the Uruguayan poet Serafín J. García, that explains the origin of the Ñandubay:
Many centuries ago, a powerful Guarani tribe was led by a stone-hearted chief, whose daughter was beautiful and tender. She was the only being in this world he truly loved. Among the warriors of the tribe, stood a brave and skilled young man who fell in love with the daughter. The two lovers could rarely escape the vigilance of the father and meet. One day they managed to secretly meet but were accidently caught by the furious chief, who discovered their love and decided to punish the young man: he offered him a deal. The young man would stand in the same place for three days, without taking a step, and if he managed he could marry the girl. If not, he would be killed with an arrow. For hours he stood, burning in the sun, struggling against sleep and insects harassing him, his muscles always on the verge of failing. After three days, the chief came and found the young warrior still in place. He hadn’t moved, but he was unconscious. Trembling with fear, the father tried to move him in an effort to revitalize the warrior. But all his efforts were vain for the young boy’s feet were deeply rooted in the earth, his legs had merged to form one unique strong trunk with a greyish bark, and on his body had sprouted thorny branches. So the Ñandubay tree was born, strong as the young Guarani man who embodies it with his nerves and muscles, a powerful and brave spirit.

This emblematic tree that is part of the diet of many people in Argentina, is threatened due to the gradual loss of its habitat. Even if there are some forests where it is protected, and it cannot be cut, there is a lot of deforested land due to monoculture and the growing amount of grazing.

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Indigenous community:Guaraní
Nominated by:Rodrigo Nazareno Iovino