Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cannonball Tree

The Cannonball Tree (scientific name: Couroupita guianensis) is a spectacular South American tree to be planted in subtropical and tropical botanical gardens throughout the world. The tree got its name from the shape and size of its fruit which resembles a cannon ball. The fruit is large, spherical and woody ranging from 15 to 24cm in diameter. A single tree can bear as many as 200 or 300 fruits.

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The fruit when mature falls from the tree and cracks open when it hits the ground, often causing the sound of a small explosion. Like coconut palms, the heavy nut is known to fall without notice and can cause serious injury to any victim who may be unfortunate enough to be under.

Although the Cannonball Tree is believed to be native to the tropical forests of north-eastern South America, according to old Indian texts, the tree has been growing in India for the past two or three thousand years at least hence it is possible that it is native to India also.

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