About Cannonball tree- Nature is full of diversity. Different types of animals and plants are present in it with their own distinct identity. Some are so full of strangeness that they hardly attract anyone’s attention to themselves.
One such strange tree is the cannon ball tree, which is called the cannon ball tree because its fruits look like cannon balls. The botanical name of this tree with cannon ball-like fruits कुरुपिटा ग्वायनेन्सिस (Couroupita guianensis) It is a member of the Lecithidaceae family of plants. Known as canon ball tree due to its special fruits, this tree attracts anyone on wearing flowers or fruits.
Cannonball tree location and size
It is considered a native of South America. It is also found in its own country but their number is less as compared to other trees. It grows well in humid areas.
The height of its trees is up to 35 meters and the circumference of its trunk has been found to be more than two and a half feet. Its trees come under the category of evergreen trees. Although it sheds its leaves all at once, new leaves emerge so quickly that it is as if its leaves had not fallen. The new leaves are light green in color and are very shiny. After a few days the new leaves turn dark green.
At the same time, their brightness decreases. These leaves are arranged in clusters on the top part of the branches, the length of full grown leaves is from ten to fifteen inches. It is planted as an ornamental tree in gardens, gardens, etc.
Cannonball tree flower
The flowers and fruits of this tree are found on special types of branches coming out of the main stem. This type of branch emerges from the bark around the lower part of the main stem. The branches producing flowers and fruits are very long.
The length of these branches ranges from two to three meters. Its flowers are of very attractive luster, color and aroma. The size of the flowers is large and their circumference is seven to eight cm. Happens till. Its flower has six big petals which are quite thick. These petals surround the male genital stamens and the female genital gynoecium.
Religious Belief of Cannonball Tree
Its flowers are known as ‘Shivalinga Pushpa’ and ‘Nag Champa’ in Hindi, ‘Nagalinga Pushpa’ in Kannada and Tamil and ‘Mallikarjuna Pushpa’ in Telugu. Hindus consider it a sacred, religious and tree related to Lord Shankar. The shape of the gyang in the middle of the petals is like that of a Shivling and the petals surrounding it are bent in such a way as to have a snake’s hood. On seeing it, it appears as if many serpents are raising their hoods and surrounding the Shivling.
It is also called Shivkamal or Kailashpati. Pollination The flowers of this tree do not have nectar, so only the insects coming on it get pollen. Two types of pollen are found in its flowers. One is capable of producing offspring and the other is a follower.
Of the two types of pollen found in flowers, the invertebrates come to the flowers to collect the pollen for their food. On the arrival of insects, pollen capable of reproduction sticks to their body and reaches other flowers and thus the process of pollination is completed successfully.
Cannonball tree fruit
After pollination of flowers, it takes about eight to nine months for fruit formation and maturity. The fruits are usually attached to the outer edge of the long, flexible and downward swaying special branches that come out of the main trunk like cane, not like the fruits on the normal branches of normal trees.
Some fruits, in spite of being attached to these long and special branches, keep touching the ground. Even small children can easily find the fruits below, but it is known that its fruits are not edible. Flowers and fruits are also found together on its branches.
The older flowers keep on turning into fruits and the further buds on the same branch develop and turn into flowers. Its fruit-wall is woody, whose circumference is 15 to 25 cm. Happens till then. The shape and color of the fruits are similar to that of the shelled coconut fruit that has been freed from the fibres.
If the fruits are at a high height, then when ripe, they fall and burst with a loud sound. When they ripen below or adjacent to the ground, the pulp of freshly ripened fruits is yellow in color, which soon gets oxidized by the oxygen present in the air and becomes blue-green in color.
It is also a wonder that its flowers have a very good fragrance and the fruits produced from those flowers give off a foul smell. The smell of the pulp of its fruits is somewhat like that of fermented substances. Its mature fruits look like cannon balls, due to which it has been named ‘Cannon Ball Tree’.
A mature fruit of the cannon ball tree contains 200 to 300 seeds. Its seeds are dispersed by some such organisms which eat its seeds along with the pulp of its fruits and spread the seeds far and wide with their droppings.
The cover of its seeds is pubescent. These follicles found on the cover probably help an organism to slide smoothly in its alimentary canal when the seeds are eaten. There are very few organisms that include its fruits in their diet.
Some big birds and pigs eat the pulp of its fruits. While eating the pulp, these creatures swallow its seeds and when they leave the feces somewhere else, the seeds come out undigested as they are. In this way the progeny of this tree is propagated.
Using the Cannonball Tree
Traditional knowledge and researches have revealed many medicinal properties of this tree. Antibiotic, antifungal and antimicrobial properties are found in this tree. The leaves have been found useful in the treatment of skin disorders. Its young leaves are used to reduce toothache. Pests are kept away from the store-houses with the help of the deodorant of the fruits.
Its wood is not very strong, so only light furniture is made from it. Its hard fruit-walls are used to make utensils and toys. This tree has a lot of recognition in the religious field. There is a tradition of putting it in the courtyard of Lord Shankar’s temples.
A ‘Caution’ board is put on the trunk of its trees standing on the side of the road and in the gardens because there is a fear of serious injury if the top of the fruit falls on the head.
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