Was I Lucky ?
It is rare to see The Cannon Ball Tree in India , but I was fortunate not only to see the Fruits, the Massive Cannon Balls , but the very pretty and Enchanting Pink Blossoms as well. ( do see the previous blogs titled CANNON BALLS)
The Tree Trunk is engulfed by Blooms from Head to Toe.
” In sharp contrast to The Fruits which are Dull Brown , the buds and Flowers are a Lovely Shade of Rosy Pink mixed with White.
The Large attractive and fragrant blossoms of The Cannon Ball ( English) tree, Couroupita guianensis ( scientific name) which literally encapsulate the entire length of the tree trunk make this a Gorgeous Ornamental tree when in bloom.”
A Soft picture of the Lovely Pink Flower along with Buds in very stages.
” The name Nagalingum ( Hindi, Kannada & Tamil) or Shivalingam ( Marathi) in various Indian languages are derived from the way the Stamens are arranged resembling a mythological Multi-headed Cobra. ( see the pictures that follow).
The tree ( though it has it’s Origins in South America) has thus found a place in Indian Mythology and is supposed to be dear to Lord Shiva as the cup shaped Stamens resemble a Shiva Linga.
Though I must confess I have never seen any temple which houses these Magnificent Trees.”
The Ground below the tree is carpeted with the Gorgeous Blooms .
“If you observe the blossoms in the pictures carefully you will see the flowers bear two types of Stamen , both carry pollen, one on a white hood (these are the infertile or faux pollen) and the second in a cup like structure arranged around the Pistil below the hood ( fertile pollen) .
The Staminodes or the Cobra Head carries the Infertile Pollen which is Food for the Bees and Bats ( yes Bats) which are the pollinators for these Large Flowers.”
Scientific facts and more details will follow in the days to come.
“this promise has now been fulfilled and the facts raise many interesting questions as well which makes it worthwhile having a re-look at the Enchanting flowers of The Cannon Ball Tree.
Some have even compared the Cobra Head like Staminodes to a Sea Slug or Nudibranchs.
All the details that have been added to the original blog are in italics and in inverted commas.”
The feature picture is of a solitary Pink Bud of this Enchanting & Mysterious Tree.