I had a short trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand last week, and during one of the many temple visits, I came across this rather peculiar tree. The Cannonball tree or it’s scientific name, Couroupita guianensis. A family of the Brazil nut, this plant is native to South America.
If so, how did this peculiar plant end up in many SE Asian temples?
Well for one, the flower has a hood which resembles that of Naga (a mythical Hindu/ Buddhist serpent guardian), hence this tree is Sacred amongst Hindus & Buddhists.
Also, in 1881, this tree was planted in Sri Lankan temples mistakenly identified as a sal tree, which in Buddhist beliefs, Maya was holding a branch of a blossoming branch of the sal tree while giving birth to Lord Buddha.
From then on, this tree is found all over South East Asian temples, for its cultural significance and also it’s beautiful flowers and peculiar giant cannonball fruits.
Side View: You can see the way the flower curves up. Similar to a hooded Naga
This flower also emits a wonderful scent, no wonder it is buzzing with bees and insects.
Some fruits, large enough to cause a deadly concussion if it should fall on your head.
Such a wonderful plant that inspired this post. I hope you like it!! Feel free to share it!