Armed and Deciduous – The Cannonball Tree


The tree towers up to 35 m (115 ft) and each fruit can weigh about 3 kg (6 lb).

There’s no better protected tree than the Cannonball. This gargantuan grower is found in South American forests and attacks without warning. Avoid being in the firing line when its weighty fruits blast off.

A member of the Brazil nut family, the Cannonball tree’s proper name is Couroupita guianensis. Found in the rainforests of the Guianas (an area of north-eastern South America) and in India, the tree has sweet-smelling flowers that are used in perfumes and cosmetics. Its heavy fruits look like rusty cannonballs and when ripe, they fall to the ground and smash open with a bang. Locals use the fruit shells to craft containers and utensils.

Tree Treatment

The Cannonball’s bark, leaves, and fruit have been used in medicine for centuries. The beneficial bark is said to prevent colds and have antiseptic properties, while the leaves treat various skin diseases. The stinky fruit is used as a natural disinfectant for open wounds.