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.
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.