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Cannonball Tree

Couroupita guianensis

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Zone 9B -11

The Cannonball Tree, Couroupita guianensis, is a native of Guiana, Sri Lanka or South America (we have conflicting data).  The tree is deciduous and large, 50-80 feet in its native lands.  It is said to have special significance in the Buddhist religion.   Very rare locally, we have seen only two in South Florida

The amazingly complex flower of the Cannonball Tree is also heavenly scented - a cross between a fine expensive perfume and a wonderful flower scent

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Unlike anything we have experienced, we found ourselves smelling the fragrant waxy blossoms over and over again.  These we saw and smelled in July 2000.   We rate their appeal right up there with the Ylang-Ylang and the JOY perfume tree

The flowers are formed off unusual thick woody extensions that grow from the main brown scaly trunk bark of the tree and cascade down in large numbers

 

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On the Cannonball we saw, these extensions started from a height of about 15 up and many reached to the ground and some grew even further.  Others started only a few feet up the trunk

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The reason the tree is called cannonball is after flowering, large brown fruit balls are formed in the size and shape of cannonballs.  Here is one mature.  The "fruit" inside the ball is said to have an unpleasant odor

Here is a pic of a young cannonball beginning to size up.  Someone put a ribbon it :-)  From the University of Hawaii, we 'borrowed' this pic of maturing brown cannonballs.  To add to the 'native lands' confusion, this is pic from a Cannonball growing in Australia

We know little about proper culture.  One source says they prefer moist to wet soil conditions.  Obviously with its size, this is a full sun tree