Cannonball Tree or Couroupita Guianensis
This large deciduous tropical tree, is listed as a rare tree and flower in India. In India, the tree is sacred to Hindus, who believe its hooded flowers look like the Naga, and it is grown at Shiva Temples. It is called Shivalinga in Hindi, and Nagalingam in Tamil. Couroupita Guianensis is the scientific name of Cannonball Tree or Nagalinga Pushpa.
Flowers of Cannonball Tree
The yellow, reddish and pink flowers or this tree are stunning fragrant. The waxy aromatic smelling, pink and dark-red flowers growing directly on the bark of the trunk. Cannon ball flowers are considered of special significance in Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka.
In Tamil Nadu, flower of this tree is called Nagalingam flower. The Shivalingam shape is visible at the center of the flower and snake shaped pollen is the specialty of this flower and it has very good fragrance. This rare flower can be used for Shiva Pooja.
The tree bears, directly on the trunk and main branches, large globose woody fruits, they look like big rusty cannonballs hanging in clusters, like balls on a string. The fruit contains small seeds in a white, unpleasant smelling white jelly. These seeds exposed when the upper half of the fruit goes off like a cover.
The long dangling fruity branches give the tree an unkempt appearance. The hard shells are used to make containers and utensils.
Unripe fruit is harmful and might cause an allergic reaction. One who intake the unripe fruits may experience tingling and burning sensation on the lips and tongue.
There are many medicinal uses for the plant. Natives of the tree use extracts of several parts of the tree to treat hypertension, tumors, pain, and inflammation. It has been used to treat the common cold, stomach ache, skin conditions and wounds, malaria, and toothache.
- In Ayurveda, the juice of the fruit is used as expectorant for bronchitis and chronic cough.
- The pulp is used to disinfect wounds
- Young leaves are used to provide relief from toothache
- The fruit pulp is rubbed on sick dogs to cure them of mange
- The juice extracted from the leaves is used to treat skin diseases.