Have you ever seen a CANNONBALL tree? Couroupita guianensis

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by mylo, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. mylo

    mylo TPF Noob!

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    On my recent trip to Penang Island, I spent a good two hours exploring Penang very own botanic garden. A hot afternoon but still a breezy day. Along the of the garden, there are lots of cannonball tree - all of them are flowering that time. The large-sized flowers smell SO GOOD - the fragrance from the flower is unbelievable!

    Why call it the cannonball tree? Well, the tree produce cannonball look alike fruit.

    Capture these pictures with my camera.

    Some Interesting Facts:

    The name "Cannon Ball Tree" comes from the fruits, big as cannon balls, hanging on special branches along the trunk. The tree needs full sun, warm temperatures all the year, well drained, organic soil and regular watering, never overwater it.

    This tree can reach up to 20 m tall, but it stays around 10-15, usually. It has bright green leaves that may fall in after really dry seasons, although they won't if you keep it humid all the year (making the leaves fall is not recomended, since they don´t change colors and make the tree look awkward). Despite the height, this tree doesn't demand much room, the roots grow deep into the soil, mostly.

    The flowers come from special branches on the lower part of the trunk, and may appear only after the tree reaches at least 5 m tall. The are big, and gorgeous. 6 red petals that exhalate a sweet scent (some people find it disgusting, but I think it´s delicious). The stamens come in two types: the long, sterile ones are joined together on an structure called "urceolus", white with pink tips that look like a sea anemone; the fertile ones are short and form a disk around the ovarium. The flowers usually atract large bees and more rarely beetles.

    The fruits are brown, of the size of a bowling ball, or a handball, and have a hard shell. The white pulp rapidly turns dark when in contact with oxygen. The several seeds contain an oil that will keep them alive for a while, I don't know how long, though.

    There are some restrictions about cultivating this tree. Some people are allergic to the pollen and/or the fruits, so handling them, or even coming too close to them may cause skin irritation. The fruit's pulp can´t be ingested, it's very toxic, causing a burning sensation in your throat that can last for hours, making it to swell (I know this by experience... :^P). The fruits are heavy, and they fall when they start to rot, so it's not a good idea to plant it on places with heavy people traffic, or on parking lots. Finally, the fallen fruits must be removed from the ground, because they start to exhalate a strong rotting smell shortly afterward.


    SOURCE: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/57539/

    Picture 1 & 2 - The flower

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    Picture 2 - The CANNONBALL

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    cheers!
    mylo
     
  2. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    How interesting! LOVE the flower shots...they bear a vague resemblance to orchids. And thanks for posting the info about the tree and fruit.
     
  3. Flower Child

    Flower Child TPF Noob!

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    how neat --and nicely captured. that fruit looks like a cantelope
     
  4. mylo

    mylo TPF Noob!

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    Nice flowers with great fragrance!


    Flower Child,

    Thank you!! Really appreciate the kind comments!


    Cheers!
    mylo
     

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