In Madagascar, the Amontana and the Aviavy , which are related to the sycamore and the fig-tree, are royal trees. They symbolize the life-force and epitomize power. Their flowers blossom and bear fruit before their leaves, which appear only when the fruit is ripe, as though to protect it from the sun. According to the elders, to reveal one's fruit and then conceal it beneath graceful foliage is the preeminent sign of royalty, which openly proclaims its designs for the good of the people, but then conceals them modestly because they are sacred.
The king's tree King Andriamanelo is thought to have been the first to plant these trees in his realm of Alasora, one of the twelve sacred hills of the Merina people. He made them a symbol of royalty and would not allow them to be planted anywhere but in the residences of kings or their representatives. He liked to say that the fruit of the aviavy left a bitter taste on the tongue, which then turned sweet. "May my kingdom," he said, "have this sweet aftertaste." (by UNESCO)
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