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Libros y Manuales de Agronomia

Peru: La pitahaya del cronista Bernabé Cobo

Prehispánica. Muchos la consideran de origen asiático; sin embargo, el cronista español en el siglo XVII la registra en Historia del nuevo mundo como fruta ritual en algunas ceremonias incas.

En BarcelonaEspaña, la presenta como la “fruta dragón”.

La exhiben de manera especial como una fruta exótica y no pocos turistas, cuando la descubren en los mercados, le hacen registros fotográficos que parecen verdaderos “bodegones” pintados por artistas. Allí lucen en tonos amarillos bermellón y rosa y que, por sus formas, resalta entre todas las frutas expuestas.

“Es una fruta de Asia”, me dijeron, por eso mismo me animé a probarla, no quería perder la ocasión puesto que la tenía al alcance de mis manos.

El sabor me retrotrajo a mi época de infancia en Marcas-Chincha, cuando cogíamos el fruto de una planta cactácea que crece de manera silvestre, de forma erguida y cuyo fruto en apariencia y sabor es parecida a esta fruta que llaman ‘fruta dragón’; claro, este de menor tamaño, de color verde y pulpa blanca con diminutas semillas negras, al que conocíamos con el nombre de ‘ulquite’.

Entonces me di con la sorpresa de que se trataba de la misma fruta. O sea, la ‘fruta dragón’, ‘ulquite’, es la misma fruta que se conoce con el nombre de pitahaya y que, como se ha dicho, son de diversos colores.

Es decir, para nosotros no es ajena ni exótica porque sobre ella hay registros desde la época de la conquista, porque después, leyendo y releyendo crónicas del siglo XVI y XVII, motivada por la investigación sobre los felinos en la época prehispánica, con gran sorpresa encontré en Bernabé Cobo referencia sobre la pitahaya.

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El cronista español pone en evidencia su uso en actos rituales en la época de los incas.

Pero no solo eso, opté por revisar los diccionarios de la lengua quechua y aymara para ahondar un poco más sobre el origen de este fruto.

Cuando difundí, vía internet y redes sociales, los avances de esta investigación, recibí de inmediato el comentario del reconocido arqueólogo Federico Kauffmann Doig, quien, además, me hizo llegar copia de la página 261 de su libro sobre la cultura Chachapoyas, donde precisamente hace referencia a este fruto.

“Pitaya -anota Kauffmann- es el nombre de un peñón situado cerca del puente de Caclic… su nombre deriva de un síncope o abreviatura de pitajaya (Hylocereus spp.), una cactácea particularmente endémica en el área.

Entre los petrorrelieves presentes en el barranco, destaca uno por sus grandes dimensiones y que precisamente es la que se conoce con el nombre de pithaya”.

Sin duda, el aporte valioso del doctor Kauffmann confirma que la pitahaya es endémica del Perú.

Sin embargo, en la actualidad se la conoce y difunde como nativa del Centro y del Sur de América; se dice que pitahaya es nombre haitiano que significa ‘fruta escamosa’. Algunas fuentes (internet: ecoagricultura), también atribuye su origen a México y Tailandia.

Fruta prehispánica

En el Perú, se lo conoce desde la época prehispánica, fruto, que no solo era comestible, sino que se utilizaba en ciertas ceremonias.

El cronista Bernabé Cobo (1653) en su libro Historia del nuevo mundo, en el capítulo XXVI, refiere que en el segundo mes, llamado “camay”, en luna nueva, se reunían en la plaza Aucaypata del Cusco los que habían sido “armado de caballeros”.

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Divididos en Hanancuzco y Urincuzco, “se tiraban con cierta fruta como tunus, que llamaban pitahayas. Venían algunas veces a las manos a probar fuerza hasta que el inca se levantaba y los ponía en paz…”.

Bernabé Cobo, cronista, científico y sacerdote español, perteneciente a la compañía de Jesús, llegó al Perú en 1657 después de una estadía en la Antillas, Guatemala, Nueva Granada y Venezuela. Además de escribir Historia del Nuevo Mundo, abordó la realidad de virreinato peruano en los libros Descripciones del Callao Historia de la fundación de Lima. Es decir, conoció bien la comarca del Perú.

Resultado de imagen para pitahaya

Por todo ello, como se aprecia, la pitahaya, esa fruta que en Barcelona llaman “fruta dragón” y que muchos consideran oriunda de Asia y otros confines, era un elemento de rituales en el Perú antiguo.

Por todo ello, como se aprecia, la pitahaya, esa fruta que en Barcelona llaman “fruta dragón” y que muchos consideran oriunda de Asia y otros confines, era un elemento de rituales en el Perú antiguo.

Rastreo lingüístico

En la búsqueda de información sobre la pitahaya, indagué en libros y diccionarios. Entre ellos, encontré que a inicios del siglo XVII, Diego González de Holguín, consigna en Arte y Diccionario, Quechua-Español, lo siguiente: “Pitahaya, nom. Árbol que tiene las hojas espinozas como círios; la fruta está pegada al tronco, es melosa y sabrosa” (1608: pág. 272).

Asimismo, el Diccionario Kechua – Español, de Jorge A. Lira, define: WARÁKKO, Sin. Pitaháya. (1944: pág. 1108). En general, en el idioma quechua, el término “waraqo” está referido a plantas cactáceas o plantas de espinos grandes (Diccionario Simi Taqe: 2013).

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La producción de la pitahaya se ha extendido a muchos países del mundo como Viet nam, Tailandia, Malasia, Australia, China, Japón e Israel; países que junto con Nicaragua, Colombia y Ecuador son los mayores productores. En nuestro país, la región amazónica es la más propicia para el cultivo de esta fruta de propiedades nutricionales, médicas,como antioxidante natural.

fuente:_ larepublica.pe/cultural/

Por Ana María Galvez

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