Cannonball Tree



The cannonball tree bears fruit that is shaped like a cannonball. When these 10-inch spheres fall from above and hit the ground, they crack open with a sound like a cannon firing.

The tree (scientific name Couroupita guianensis is native to the south of the Caribbean and to the northern parts of South America. Yet it has also been growing in India for at least two to three thousand years and the jury is out whether it is native there or somehow the trees were transported across the continents several thousand years ago.


Link via The Presurfer | Photo by Flickr user xordroyd used under Creative Commons license

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I lived in the Caribbean for a few years on various islands. Locally these are just called bread fruit trees, I think the author made up the cannonball thing from the sign, people often put funny warning signs up on these trees.

It's a basic starch staple like potato or rice for people throughout the islands. It has a mild bland taste with a bit of mild bitterness at the end. However, it's plainness makes it very versatile.

It's made into casseroles, seasoned, meat chunks are added when people could get it, think funeral potatoes for a similar taste and texture but it needs boiling down to create a kind of mash to use in other things like casseroles.

And yes they are also dangerous, I have met people injured by them and stories abound of people killed too. A highly superstitious area, people had all kinds of metaphysical reasons if you are hit but usually it had something to do with too much rum and not paying attention.
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Couroupita guianensis? It's got nothing on the sheer girth of the Jackfruit. Those cannonballs are usually 15-24cm in diameter while the jackfruit are up to 90cm by 50cm and can weigh 80lbs (36kg).
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