Cannonball Tree (Couroupita)



The Cannonball Tree, or Couroupita guianensis, is a tree bearing brown round fruits in the shape of cannon balls. The tree also produce large pinkish red flowers. The Cannonball tree is Panama, Amazonian Colombia, northern Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Amazonian Ecuador, Amazonian Peru, and eastern and southwestern Amazonian Brazil. In Spanish it is known as bola de cañon. It can grow to a height of 50 to 80 feet, and its fruits come out of the main trunk on tentacle-like stems that can be up to 3 meters long. The flowers have a pleasant smell. The fruits measure 15-24 centimeters in diameter and contain 200-300 seeds. The plup has a rather unpleasant smell.

The Cannonball Tree is said to be related to the Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa). It has been grown in southern India and Sri Lanka, probably brought over by the British, and there, it has now been considered sacred among Hindus there, where they call it the nagalingam tree in Tamil. The flowers are called the Shivalingam flowers, Nagamalli flowers and Mallikarjuna flowers in Telugu.

Botanical Name Couroupita guinensis
Common Name Cannonball Tree
Blooms Pink, Red, White, Near-White
Planting condition Full sun
Propagation Woody stem cuttings, seed sown direct in autumn
Watering Normal watering, do not overwater
Pests and diseases Not known
Other notes Some parts are poisonous if ingested, handling may also cause skin irritation


Couroupita Photo Album

Couroupita guianensisCouroupita guianensis
Author: Esther Tye © The Flowering Garden.

Couroupita guianensisCouroupita guianensis
Author: Esther Tye © The Flowering Garden.

Couroupita guianensisCouroupita guianensis
Author: Timothy Tye © The Flowering Garden.

The fruits of the Cannonball treeThe fruits of the Cannonball tree
Author: Timothy Tye © The Flowering Garden.

The Cannonball treeThe Cannonball tree
Author: Timothy Tye © The Flowering Garden.

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