The Character of the Gift
Other names: Sala tree
Botanical name: Couroupita guianensis(Lecythidaceae)
THE BEAUTIFUL AND STRONG TREE OF GOOD AND POSITIVE POWERS
The exotically beautiful Cannon ball tree can not be passed by. The tree is an incredible sight with its pleasant, fragrant flowers and extraordinary fruits.
Coming from Tropical America, the Cannon ball tree is known as Ayahuma (head of spirit) in this part of the world. Among the shamans of the Amazon, the tree is believed to provide protection against the evil spirits. The English name is derived from the massive fruit nuts which resemble rusty cannon balls. Thanks to its beauty, the tree has spread widely all over the world. It is considered as the holy tree of Shiva and called Naga Linga in India. This big tree can grow 35 m (115 ft) tall and achieve an 80 cm (2.6 ft) trunk diameter. The tree is mainly grown for its beauty, but the soft, light-colored wood is also utilized to manufacture furniture.
THE LOVELY FLOWERS AND THE DANGEROUS FRUITS
The Cannon ball tree blooms and bears fruit simultaneously. The exotic red flowers smell like expensive perfume and bloom for only one day each. In Asia, the flowers are a symbol of wealth. The fruits and the flowers burst straight from the trunk and the old trees have the whole lower part of the trunk covered. The cannon ball Ėlike fruits can be up to 20 cm (7.8 inch). They ripen for approximately nine months and then fall to the ground, often popping broken. When reacting with air, the fruit flesh turns bluish-green and smells unpleasant and fermented. The flesh is edible for animals and for the Shamans of the Amazon, this powerful nourishment is a part of their diet. For other people the fruit can even be poisonous and might cause a serious allergic reaction. The hard fruit shell is used as containers or ornaments.
THE TREATING TREE GIVES STRONG INGREDIENTS FOR NATURES PHARMACY
The effects of the Cannon ball tree in medical use are strong. As when using any natural medicine, the correct dosage is vital. In medicinal use, the flowers, leaves, bark and fruit flesh are used. The Cannon ball tree possesses antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. The trees are used to cure colds and stomach aches. The juice made from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases, and the Shamans of South America have even used tree parts for treating malaria. The inside of the fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves ease toothache.
A gigantic tree
with deeper roots
holding out delicate flowers
for the world to see
Behold this beauty
within a pond of fragrance
filling the air
Naga Linga flower: poem from India