Tag Archives: tree

Spanish Nature Names & Animal Talk

Names Of Things In Nature / Nombres De Las Cosas En La Naturaleza


Here you will find the names of trees, flowers and animals in Spanish. Some things in Dominican Republic have names that are different than other Spanish speaking countries. Also, how to use animals traits to describe people and the sounds animals make in Spanish.

Trees | Animals | Using Animal Traits to Describe People | Animal Talk | El viejo Juancho tenía una granja (Old McDonald Had a Farm), the song |

A very important Dominicanism to remember is the word vaina. If you do not know what something is just point at it and say la vaina / the thing. This can cover up for many unknown words!

Trees / Árboles

*Almendra – Almond trees. These trees can get quite large and produce a single fruit inside of a flour type bud.

A beautiful Almendra Tree
A beautiful Almendra Tree

*Almacigo – Mastic tree
*Arce – Maple
*Avellano – Hazel
*Caimito – Star apple
*Cajuil – Cashew
*Caoba – Mahogany tree. This tree is the National Tree of Dominican Republic
*Cedro – Cedar
*Cerezo – Cherry tree
*Flamboyant/ Framboyan – Flame Tree or Royal Poinciana. This tree flowers in late spring/ early summer and is very beautiful with its bright red umbrella of flowers.

A beautiful Flamboyant Tree with it's bright red flowers.
A beautiful Flamboyant Tree with it’s bright red flowers.

*Guasábara – Species of cactus that grows in the barren zones of the Dominican Republic
*Higuera – Fig tree

The Grown In Dominican Republic page.

Animals / Animales

(details about many of the Creatures found in Dominican Republic)

*Ardilla – Squirrel
*Cabron – a large male goat
*Cacata – tarantula-type spider (picture and information about the cacata)
*Chinchilín – blackbird
*Chivo – goat
*Cocuyo or Cucuyo – firefly, lightning bug
*Gallina – chicken
*Huron – ferret
*Mono – monkey
*Paloma – Pigeon
*Pavo – turkey
*Peje, Pecao – fish
*Viralata – used to describe a mixed breed dog, and the way they search for food. “Living out of the can”
*Zorrillo – skunk

Using animals traits to describe people

*Burro – (donkey) a gross person
*Conejo – (rabbit) someone whose front teeth are large or missing
*Jirafas – (giraffes) women who excel because of their high stature
*Leon – (lion) a person who always wants to solve a problem by fighting, using fists
*Gallo/ Gallito – (rooster) a person who always wants to solve a problem by fighting, using fists
*Liebre – (hare) a person that cannot be caught when he flees
*Perro – (dog) one that does not have morals and lacks education
*Puerco – (pig) person with bad hygiene
*Pulpo – (squid) type of person that wants everything to be the way he wants it to be, grabs for all of life
*Ratón – (mouse) someone that is of small build
*Rata – (rat) low person without morals or values
*Toro – (bull) person with great force and resistance, bull-headed

How Animals Talk / Cómo los Animales Hablan

Remember the song Old McDonald Had a Farm (The Spanish version is called El Viejo Juancho Tenía Una Granja is on the bottom of this page)? Well, in Spanish the animals make different sounds. Yes, animals living in Spanish speaking countries also speak Spanish. Even though when hearing a Spanish speaking animal make their given noise the sound is the same in my ear, when it hits a Spanish speaking person ear, I guess, the sound is different. The person who’s eardrums are intercepting the sound interprets the animal talk into their own language.

One really never thinks of an animal speaking a different language until you are confronted with it. When in Dominican Republic try calling a cat or dog the way you usually call them. They will ignore you completely (unless you have food that is). They are probably laughing at you inside their little animal heads!

Remember, the little lip popping, kissy sound one makes to call a dog in one country can (and does) mean Attack! in Dominican Republic. A cat will ignore you completely if you call it as you would in English but as soon as you say misu, misu it (may) then pay you attention. I wonder what Doctor Doolittle would do…..

The bees say buzzz in English and Spanish.
The bees say buzzz in English and Spanish.

*Bee – English = bzzzz / Las abejas hacen en español (the bees say in Spanish) = bzzz
*Bird – English = tweet tweet / Los pájaros trinan hacen en español de españa (Spain) = pío pío, Argentina Spanish = pi pi
*Cat – English = meow / El Gato ladra hace español = miau
*Chick – USA English = peep peep / British English=cheep cheep / Español = pío pío
*Cow – English = moo / Las vacas mugen hacen en español = muuu
*Crow – English = caw / Español = cruaaac, cruaaac
*Dog – English = bow wow, arf, woof, ruff ruff / El perro ladra hace español = guau guau or wow wow
*Donkey – English = hee-haw / Costa Rica Spanish = iii-aah, iii-aah
*Dove, pigeon – English = coo / La paloma hace en español = cu-curru-cu-cú
*Duck – English = quack quack / Los Patos hacen en español de españa (Spain) = cuá cuá / Argentina Spanish=cuac cuac
*Frog – English = ribbit / Spain Spanish = La rana croa hace encruá-cruá / Argentina Spanish = berp / Peru Spanish = croac, croac
*Goat – English = baaah / El chivo hace en español = bee bee
*Hen – English = cackle and cluck / Español = coc co co coc
*Horse – English = neigh or whinny / El caballo relincha hace / Colombia Spanish = iiiiou / Paraguay Spanish = ioohoho / Peru Spanish = iiiiii / Spain Spanish = híiiiiiiiii
*Owl – English = hoo / El búho hace en español = uu uu
*Pig – English = oink oink / El cerdo hace en español = oink-oink
*Rooster – English = cock-a-doodle-doo / El gallo canta hace / Spain Spanish = kikirikí / Argentina Spanish = ki-kiri-ki

The chickens in the tree say ki-kiri-ki
The chickens in the tree say ki-kiri-ki

*Sheep – English = baaah / Las ovejas balan; hacen / Spain Spanish = bee / Argentina Spanish = meeee
*Tiger – English = grrrrrr / El tigre hace Spain Spanish = grgrgrgr / Venezuela Spanish = gggrrrrrrr

(my little joke – Tiger – Dominican person speaking in English “Hey BABY”! IE: definition of a tigre in Dominican Spanish is a person who is a womanizer)

El viejo Juancho tenía una granja (Old McDonald Had a Farm)

translated by Paola Ferate-Soto

El viejo Juancho tenía una granja, iai, iai, oo.
Y en su granja tenía un marrano, iai, iai, oo.
Con su oink, oink aquí, con su oink, oink allí,
Aquí oink, allí oink, en todos lados oink, oink.
El viejo Juancho tenía una granja, iai, iai, oo.

The rest of the verses continue:
Vaca: mu, mu
Pollito: pío, pío
Caballo: neigh, neigh
Oveja: bee, bee
Perro: guau, guau
Gato: miau, miau
Pato: cuac, cuac

Cajuil – Cashew

Cajuil – Cashew

The Árbol de Anacardo, the tree that produces cajuil, the cashew seed and the manzana de auga, is a fruit tree that was brought to Dominican Republic long ago. It now, according to The Ministry of Environment, is in danger of becoming extinct in this country because of deforestation in the eastern region where the fruit producing tree is mainly found to grow.

Árbol Anacardo, Cajuil Tree, Cashew Tree.
Árbol Anacardo, Cajuil Tree, Cashew Tree.

The Many Names Of Cajuil

Anacardium Occidentale is also simply known as cashew. Here it is called Cajuil, Pomarrosa, Cajuilito Perita Roja and the fruit Manzana de Cajuil. The caju, as Brazilians call it, is native to northeastern Brazil. It is not a nut but a fruit and has great medicinal and nutritional properties. The fruit is sweet and has a variety of names depending on which country you are in.

Árbol de Anacardo, the tree that produces cajuil, the cashew seed and the manzana de auga
Árbol de Anacardo, the tree that produces cajuil, the cashew seed and the manzana de auga

The Tree And Fruit

The Cajuil tree can grow up to around 20 feet. The tree flowers in February and March and can produce fruit anywhere from April to August. It is a strange looking fruit. The seed grows outside of the fruit. It is a red, small pear shaped fruit grown what looks like it is upside down. There is what looks like a grey-black growth coming out of the fruits bottom. This black seed holds the ever popular cashew nut, that is really a seed, and the red fruit is made into a wonderful sweet that is a must try.

The Cajuil Apple or Manzana de Auga with the external cashew seed.
The Cajuil Apple or Manzana de Auga with the external cashew seed.

The fruit, manzana de cajuil, is sweet with a lime type tang. Cooked with some sugar and cinnamon it turns into a tasty sticky sweet. The fruit can also be juiced. But the black seed – BEWARE!

The external seed, the cashew, has an outer skin that is thick and leathery. The edible seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a nasty sticky allergenic phenolic resin called anacardic acid. It holds a very strong and fierce skin irritant. It is chemically related to the highly allergenic oil urushiol that is also a toxin found in its relative, poison ivy, oak and sumac.

The Dangerous Seed

The skin of the seed is sticky and once it touches your skin it is very difficult to get off. It is a dangerous irritant and can cause burns, blisters, swollen skin and eyes and for some people can leave lifelong scaring. The burning and itching can last for weeks. This is why cashews are not sold in their shell like walnuts and other nuts. They are sold roasted. Roasting at high temperatures kills the urushiol that is lurking inside.

Dulse de Cajuil

If you get the chance try the cooked fruit, Dulse de Cajuil. Enjoy the roasted, so called Cashew Nuts (which are really seeds). But be warned. If you see these interesting fruits take cautions with the skin and especially the seed. I read that some people are even allergic to the resin from the trees as well.

Did you know:

I wrote my story on the Life and Times Of The Dominican Gringa Blog – My Cajuil Experience.

60% of the cashew nuts come from India. Many of the people who work in the cashew industry have permanent damage to their hands from this corrosive liquid, because factories do not routinely provide gloves. More information here www.telegraph.co.uk

A little more detailed information on how a cashew is processed at Nut Gourmet.

Ceiba de Colon

Ceiba de Colon

The Ceiba de Colón is a historical tree located near the mouth of the Río Ozama. Legend states that this is where Christopher Columbus moored his ship the Santa María when he first arrived in the Americas.

Ceiba de Colón and the new tree protecting it.


The trunk of the Ceiba de Colón, mostly covered in cement now, has been protected throughout history. The Dominican people tried to keep the tree upright and alive as long as possible. But, as all trees do, it just got old. The trunk began to split, become hollow and finally, the tree fell. All that remains of that tree is cement and stone that were used to cover the original tree trunk.

Ceiba de Colon in 1905
Ceiba de Colon in 1905

Today there is another Ceiba tree growing next to the original cement covered trunk. It is said to be there to protect the original tree. Akin to a daughter, with its arms outstretched, covering and protecting the elderly mother from all the world’s troubles.

Ceiba de Colon where Columbus moored his ship
Ceiba de Colon where Columbus moored his ship


About The Ceiba

The Ceiba tree throughout the history of the world has been shrouded in many myths and legends. It is said the roots of this ancient tree can reach to the deepest parts of the underworld and also represents the terrestrial realms. In Mayan mythology, the Ceiba, or tree of life, is said to hold up the sky. It is the national tree of Guatemala. It is a common tree found in warm, tropical regions. The Ceiba can grow to be very tall and its branches form a huge shady canopy.

Cebia de Colon seen from Fuerte del Angulo
Cebia de Colon seen from Fuerte del Angulo

Update. Read the news story The Historical and Legendary Ceiba Colón Partner Has Fallen written 9-2019.



Near Puerta de las Atarazanas and Avenida del Puerto (Av. Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deño). It is easily spotted when entering the Colonial Zone from the Puente Flotante. Walking, go north from Calle el Conde past Plaza España, down the stairs. Continue walking along the wall of the original city up Calle Atarazanas. Walk to a small Plaza at The Fuerte de la Carena and Fuerte de Angulo, where the road ends. Look over the wall at the cannon and you will see the cement covered stump standing all alone.