Cannonball Tree Flower

With its quaint looking cannonball like fruits and odd ‘alien’ like bright red flowers, the cannonball tree certainly attracts the curiosity and attention of those who have not seen it before. This particular tree at FRIM, laden with cannonballs and blooming flowers emanating a sweet scent were certainly drawing the bees and keeping them busy with work that sunny morning. The flowers are rather large at about 3 inches in diameter, which allows me to use a close focusing wide angle lens to shoot it with and fill the frame nicely with interesting details of the blooming flowers and buds.

A Cannonball Tree (Couroupita Guianensis) Flower Soaking Up The Morning Sunshine

Some interesting facts about the cannonball tree excerpted from Wikipedia …

The cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis), is a deciduous tree in the family Lecythidaceae, which also includes the Brazil nut and Paradise nut. It is native to the rainforests of Central and South America, and it is cultivated in many other tropical areas throughout the world because of its beautiful, fragrant flowers and large, interesting fruits.

The tree reaches to a height of 110 feet. The leaves, in clusters at the ends of branches, are usually 3 to 12 inches long. The flowers are born in racemes up to 31 inches long. Some trees flower profusely until the entire trunk is covered with racemes. One tree can hold as many as 1000 flowers per day. The flowers are strongly scented, and are especially fragrant at night and in the early morning. Flowers are up to 2.5 inches in diameter, with six petals, and are typically brightly colored, with the petals ranging from shades of pink and red near the bases to yellowish toward the tips. There are two areas of stamens: a ring of stamens at the center, and an arrangement of stamens that have been modified into a hood. The fruits are spherical with a woody shell, like a cannonball, and reach up to 10 inches in diameter. One tree can bear 150 fruits.

Although the flowers lack nectar, they are very attractive to bees, which come for the pollen. The flowers produce two types of pollen: fertile pollen from the ring stamens, and sterile pollen from the hood structure. The fruit is edible, but not usually consumed by people because it can have an unpleasant smell. The plant has medicinal uses, it has been used to treat the common cold, stomachache, skin conditions and wounds, malaria, and toothache.

No Mud, No Lotus

No Mud No Lotus 1

Lotus flowers always make an interesting subject, and this is a set I took yesterday morning from a man made pond within the neighbourhood. Large sections of the muddy pond was literally swamped with lotus plants with their deep pink flowers looking extremely fresh and vibrant, as if they just bloomed that morning. Nice flowers for a subject, but not very nice background to complement them with (sigh!). But the reality is, the muddier (and ‘dirtier’) the environment, the better the lotus thrives, and I suppose this is corroborated by what I saw in the pond, the lotus flowers do looked so healthy and vibrant amidst the muddy and mucky environment!

No Mud No Lotus 2

A rather interesting find and read awaited when I went looking for an appropriate (and also nice) title for the photos and post. Upon googling a number of word phrases, I came upon ‘No mud, No lotus’, a phrase coined by Thich Nhat Hanh* and liked it immediately …

“Everyone knows we need to have mud for lotuses to grow. The mud doesn’t smell so good, but the lotus flower smells very good. If you don’t have mud, the lotus won’t manifest. You can’t grow lotus flowers on marble. Without mud, there can be no lotus.”

His philosophy round the concept is interesting and worthwhile noting, like ying and yang, the complementary opposites, something which I can observe and relate to in many ways in our daily lives …

“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud.
We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”

So, there you go, a couple of lotus photos and some new learnings on an easy lazy Sunday, not bad at all, yes?

(* Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering)

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm

 

Pink Plumerias

Alluring In Pink

Appearing in clusters at the end of branches, each plumeria is formed by five oval shaped waxy petals curled towards their edges, and carries a distinctive sweet and enticing scent which gets more pronounced in the evening. Their beauty and delightful scent make them universally loved and are commonly used as an ornamental flower in the home as well as a beauty accessory in the tropics. It is easily one of the most recognisable and popular ‘tropical’ flower (the thought of it alone connotes an exotic tropical feel) within the plant kingdom. The white variety being the most common, with many others ranging from deep crimson to orange and yellow.

Delicate Softness

The name ‘Plumeria’ is attributed to Charles Plumier, a 17th Century French botanist who described several tropical species. Its more common name today, frangipani, comes from the Italian nobleman, Marquis Frangipani, who created a perfume used to scent gloves in the 16th century.  When the plumeria flower was discovered its natural perfume reminded people of the scented gloves, and so the flower was called frangipani.

Curvaceous

These were all shot outdoor on a sunny morning, processed accordingly to emphasise the delicate shape, softness and alluring colours of the delightful pink plumerias. I hope it comes across well as intended. A good weekend to all.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm