Couroupita guianensis Aublet
Synonym : Couratari pedicellaris Rizzini
Family : Lecythidaceae
Local Names : Nagalingamaram, Cannon ball tree
Flowering and fruiting period: January – October
Distribution: Native of South America
Habitat: Grown in gardens and temple premises
IUCN status: Least concern
Uses: Hard shells of fruits used to make containers and utensils. Fragrant flowers used to scent perfumes and cosmetics. Soft, light-colored wood utilized to make furniture. Commonly planted near Hindu temples, regarded as sacred by Hindus because flowers resemble the Naga (hooded snake) of Lord Shiva. Flowers used in Hindu prayer, also used by Buddhist worshippers in Sri Lanka. Extracts from tree’s tissues have antiseptic and antifungal properties, used by Amazonian Shamans to treat malaria. Young leaves used in folk medicine to relieve toothache, leaf juice used to treat skin diseases, fruit pulp used to disinfect wounds.
Key Characters: Trees, bark smooth. Leaves, simple, alternate, spiral, crowed at the apices of branchlets estipulate; petiole stout, swollen at the tip and base, glabrous; lamina obovate, margin entire. Flowers bisexual, pink, in racemes on trunk on lower branches; sepals short; stamens many, fused into a curved spathulate androphore; ovary half inferior. Fruit globose, berry, surface scurfy.