Cannonball-tree

 
 

Cannonball-tree is native to Costa Rica, Panama, and the northern half of South America. In its native distribution it reaches a height of 115 feet, with a trunk 3 or more feet in diameter. The leaves are up to 8 inches long and are grouped toward the ends of the branches. Flowers are up to 4.5 inches wide and develop on special branches that grow from the trunk and the main branches. Fruits are balls up to 8 inches in diameter that fall intact, and eventually rot to liberate up to 300 seeds. In South America the fruits are consumed by peccaries that disperse the seeds. It flowers and produces fruits during most of the year. The generic name derives from the indian name for the tree in the Guianas. The species name refers to its geographic origin.


The photographed tree is one of two specimens growing in the Research and Development Center. There's a young tree northwest of the Physics Building.

Couroupita guianensis (Lecythidiaceae)