I was cleaning photo files this week and ran across pictures I took last year of a friend’s Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis. The first time I ever saw one was 15 years ago in the botanical garden on the island of St Vincent. I barely remember the garden, the oldest in the western hemisphere, but I never forgot the Cannonball tree. The flowers grow directly out of the trunk, below all the foliage branches. When fertilized, they develop a spherical brown fruit, hence the common name Cannonball tree.
During our visit to South Florida last year, our friend’s tree was in full bloom and it was a stunning display. He told us the fragrant blossoms open and drop in one day. I took loads of pictures then promptly forgot I had them.
When we visited earlier this year, we decided to head down to Fairchild Gardens to see the Chihuly glass night exhibit. While waiting for the sun to set, we wandered around the gardens and to my delight, saw another Cannonball tree, loaded with fruit. I’ve heard the fruit tastes good but has a terrible smell – wonder if it is like durian – I love that!
So far, our friend’s tree has yet to produce fruit – maybe they don’t have the right pollinators in his area. So for now, we’ll just enjoy the annual flowering. Beautiful!