When it flowers in November and December the tree gives off a startlingly attractive perfume.  After the flowers fall to the ground pacas (and perhaps other animals) come to eat them.  The attractive aroma of the Pasu flower was attributed to a spirit man inside the tree who has prodigiuos powers of attraction.  A young woman could acquire some of the attractive power of the Pasu Flower by entering into a relationship with the Pasu Spirit Man inside the tree.  By becoming the wife or lover of the Pasu Man she became the Pasu Spirit Woman who radiated the attractive power and aroma of the Pasu.  What follows is a kind of love song to the Pasu man sung by a woman for the purpose of attaining this attractive power. The flowers are followed by an edible fruit the size of a large apple.  The appearance of the fruit is thought to be reminiscent of the head of a penis that has become so swollen that it cannot emerge from the foreskin.  For this reason, according to Runa yachai (runa custom or belief), men who were fathers of young boys should not eat the fruit less the head of their son’s penis become swollen and unable to emerge from the foreskin.  

Song to Pasu Runa (Eschweilera longifolia Man)

by Clara Santi Grefa

Recorded and translated by Tod Swanson

Click on “play” arrow on the right for audio recording

Side by side Kichwa song text with English translation

The Pasu Man is the Pasu Tree

The same one who stands bathing in the [smell/taste] of the Pasu [flower/fruit]Seeing him I take him by the arm.  Splitting open his fruit I stand bathing in his oil.

Taking the Pasu man in his oil,

I am the woman who stands bathing herself in the fragrance of the Pasu flower.

Remembering and reflecting everything Clara Santi bathes herself with his Pasu oil. If he loves me I will bathe myself with the  the heavy fragrance of pure pasu.

When I had not bathed [my body with his fruit] then Pasu Spirit Man gathering [his fruits]

Gave them to his woman, the beloved orphan (waccha), saying  “Go and take these [fruits] with you.” I am the woman who stands blowing the pasu fruit on every path

Running to stand on the Pasu hill.

If the Pasu Men love me I will take them from there to my house.

If  he does not love me then I am the woman who stands full of sadness just seeing his face.

Pasu Flower Woman, Pasu Flower Woman

I am the woman who stands smelling the Pasu flower.

[I am a] strong Santi woman

Who can defeat me?

I am the woman who stands hitting harder than anyone

When I take Pasu man, take him to the big town

When I carry Pasu, carry him in my ashanga (basket),

Then, from behind he moves my head

I am the woman who stands throwing (swinging) my hair back and forth.

That is all I am going to sing.

I am the woman who stands falling in love with the Pasu Sprit Man.

I will eat that.  Splitting the Pasu open I will eat it.

Now I will bathe don Tomas in Pasu oil.  

I am the woman who stands quieting/taming him by bathing him in its oil


Eschweilera longifolia (Lecythidaceae);  Kichwa: Allyan Pasu