Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cannonball Tree

The first time I set eyes on this tree was in the Singapore Botanic Gardens many years ago. At that time the single row of about 4 - 5 trees were already very tall with the potential to reach 35 meters. What caught my attention then were the strange looking flowers and the fruits that were like cannonballs waiting to be plucked for a battle.
Couroupita guianensis
The flowers to some extent resemble sea anemones and have a kind of fragrance that made me wonder if one day we might have a perfume made from its crushed petals. The fruits take a year to ripen and it must be really hard for the tree to carry such weighty fruits for such a long duration.
This tree can be found also in our parks and I have seen them in West Coast Park, East Coast Park, as well as lining one part of the Pan Island Expressway. I've always been fascinated by the flowers and have taken many pictures of them. This tree is a native of South America and is common in the tropics.

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