Tepepapaloquilitl

Also called : tepalcachu, pápalo, pipizca de venado.

Tepepapaloquilitl (tepetl – mountain, hill : papalotl – butterfly : quilitl – weed), it is so named because it is a herb which attracts butterflies and it grows on hilly ground or in the mountains.

Porophyllum gracile has also been identified as tepepapaloquilitl.

In the mountains outside Toluca there is a root called “chautl” which comes from a plant identified by locals as papalo. This may be the same plant as tepepapaloquilitl.(1)

The Aztecs used the root of tepepapaloquilitl as a vegetable. The root of the chautl is also used as a vegetable and is a “bit like a potato”.(Carmichael 1995)

  1. Robert Bye identifies tepepapaloquilitl as Porophyllum punctatum. Tagetes lucida (pericon) has been identified as tepepapaloquilitl in some sources (although I myself think this to be erroneous)

Chautl is used to prepare alfeniques for Dia de los muertos. The root is harvested, cleaned, dried, powdered and added to icing sugar and egg whites. This sugar paste is then used to sculpt figures for the Day of the Dead. The sugar figures are completely edible and can be kept for years if stored properly (Carmichael, 1995)

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