Cannon Ball Tree

 

The tree is of 10-20 m tall. It has masses of flowers & fruits growing from the trunk giving the tree an unkempt appearance. The Hindus in Singapore use the flowers for worship while in Sri lanka, they are used as offerings at Buddhist shrines and temples. In India, the flowers are offered to Lord Shiva by devotees. In its native country the shell of the fruit is made into utensils.

 

Couroupita guianensis

 

Known by several common names, including cannonball tree, is a deciduous tree in the family Lecythidaceae. Cannon Ball Trees can be easily found at West Coast Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, etc. The leaves, up to 6" long, are simple with serrate margin.

 

Flowers

 

 

Its flowers are bisexual, large, about 12cm across, fleshy, waxy and fragrant. There are 6 sepals, 6 petals which are yellow on the outside and pink on the inside and many stamens. The tissue of the flower when broken is white but turns blue.

 

Fruit

 

 

Fruits develop in 18 months, remaining on the tree for a year or more before they fall with a thud. They are very large and round, up to 25cm across, greyish brown, hard and looking like cannon balls. The fruits are filled with a smelly and soft red pulp. Old fruits disintegrate slowly to liberate the many seeds. The ripe flesh has an unpleasant smell. It was noted that the tree seems to be self-sterile as isolated trees would not fruit.