What plant is that?

[01 Oct 2006]

There is an abundance of these flowering trees in West Coast Park, Singapore. The flowers are surrounded by spiky branches and the fruit is a rock-hard, spherical nut-like object.

This brings up an interesting knowledge-finding issue. I tried to find the name of this plant on Google and used searches like “tropical flowering tree”, “bowling ball nut tree” and the like, but couldn’t find anything like it. I tried finding images with those descriptions, but also no joy. So how do you use online search to find a plant?

Anyway, can anyone tell me what the name of the plant is?

mystery plant

mystery fruit

A pleasant carpet of flower petals:

carpet of flowers

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4 Comments on “What plant is that?”

  1. h says:

    my colleague says it’s called cannon ball. The fruit and the flower. But she can’t remember the official name.

  2. Murray says:

    Thanks a lot. With this info, I can now find the scientific name (if anyone cares) – it’s as follows (from Encyclopedia of the Earth, which is unfortunately no longer available):

    Cannon Ball Tree
    Couroupita guianensis

    Family: Lecythidaceae
    Genus: Couroupita
    Species: guianensis (gee-uh-NEN-sis)

    Synonym: Couratari pedicellaris
    Synonym: Lecythis bracteata
    Synonym: Pekea couroupita

  3. Asoka says:

    The fragrance of this flower was copied by the perfume manufacturer Robert Isabell. It was available in 1996 as Perfume Ceylon by Perfume Isabell. This tropical flowering tree can be found in Singapore, India and Sri Lanka. Sinhalese name is Sal Mala and the Tamil name is Nochi Pu.

    It is very significant to many Buddhists as the tree under Buddha was born. The fragrance is also used in aroma therapy. As a natural stimulant it enhances calmness during meditation.

  4. Murray says:

    Thanks, Asoka! Interesting, especially since I didn’t know this was associated so closely with Buddha. And now I know why it features on so much art involving the Buddha.

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