Myths and legends of the flower of Añañuca

Añañuca is a typical flower of northern Chile, which grows specifically between Copiapó and the Quilimarí valley, in the Coquimbo region. Few people know that its name derives from a sad love story…

It is said that in the pre-independence era, when Monte Patria in the highlands was still known as Monte Rey, a beautiful young indigenous woman named Añañuca lived in these areas. . Añañuca was so beautiful that all men wanted to conquer her, but no one managed to take hold of her heart.
Thus the time passed, until one day, a handsome young miner arrived in the city in search of treasures.
The young man was fascinated by the beauty of Añañuca and the same thing happened to her with him.
The two, madly in love, decided to merge their lives and lived happily for a while. But one night, the young man had a dream in which a goblin warned him of the secret place where the treasure he had sought for so long had been found. The next morning, the boy went to look for him without notifying anyone, not even his wife. Days, weeks, months passed and the young miner never returned.
It seems that the young husband was the victim of the mirage of the pampas or some storm that had caused his disappearance and, presumably, his death.
With such immense pain that she did not fit in his chest due to the loss of her beloved, Añañuca lost the will to live and eventually died too. One day of tireless and sweet rain, the villagers carried the young woman’s body to her grave in a place on the mountain, because they thought she wanted it that way. But the next day, with dawn, the same inhabitants woke up and witnessed a surprising event: The spot in the valley where the girl’s body had been laid was covered with an abundant layer of beautiful red flowers.
This is why the legend assures that Añañuca became a flower, as a gesture of love for her loved one, because in this way she would always remain close to him. This is how this beautiful and unknown flower was given the name of Añañuca, a flower that is currently also known as “blood flower”, both for its color and for the tragedy and loss of two young lives.

A variant of this legend tells that the young man was a soldier of Spanish origin, who fell in love with the indigenous princess despite the barriers that separated them, fascinated by her beauty.

One night, the soldiers who disapproved of the young man’s behavior followed him until they found the place where they had been secretly seen and took him away from the girl’s side, rendering her unconscious.

Añañuca had decided to follow her lover, knowing that they would take him across the desert to Peru. For days she endured the bitter cold of the night and the unbearable heat of the day, walking until the stones in the street cut her feet, leaving behind a trail of blood.

She never gave up. Her suffering was too much, but she continued, until her strength left her and she fell lifeless in the middle of the desert, in a place between Copiapó and Vallenar.

They say that the sand and the wind had enveloped her body, and that same year her miracle happened. By September, the path of blood had been covered with red flowers, which were baptized with the name of Añañucas.

Thus the Añañuca, besides being a unique, beautiful and delicate flower, represents a sad legend but at the same time a great love story.


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