Couroupita guianensis

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

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  • Botanical Name : Couroupita guianensis Aubl.
  • Guianensis refers to 'of Guiana'.

  • Synonyms : Lecythis bracteata Willd.
  • Common Name : Kailashpati, Kauravpita, Cannon Ball tree, Snake-Flower Tree
  • Plant Family : Lecythidaceae
  • Plant Form : Tree
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 17, 18, 19, 21
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Indroda Park, Punit Van

About Couroupita guianensis Plant :

  • Habit : A deciduous tree reaching about 15-20 m height.
  • Stem : Soft wooded straight stout trunk and rough brownish grey bark.
  • Leaves : Alternate, oblong, oblanceolate, entire, glabrous, nerves prominent, up to 30 cm long.
  • Inflorescence : Racemes produced from the upper part of the trunk or from the main branches.
  • Flowers :
    • Large, pleasing combination of rose-pink, white and yellow colours, arranged in long racemes.
    • Calyx turbinate.
    • Petals 6, unequal, concave, pink inside but with a mixture of white, yellow and pink outside.
    • Fertile stamens numerous, monadelphous, arranged on a band that arise from the base of the ovary and bends over it like a hood so that the anthers press down on the ovary.
    • Some abortive stamens (staminodes) also present at the base of the band, surrounds the ovary. This structure looks like a hooded snake sheltering the Shivalinga.
    • Hence, the tree is also called Snake-Flower tree.
  • Fruit : Remarkably large berry and round, with a brown hard shell, containing pulp, about the size of a man's head, up to 25 cm in diameter.
  • Flowering and Fruiting Time : January onwards
  • Significance :
    • Occassionally grown in the gardens for the peculiar flowers and fruits.
    • Also planted in parks around temple and along roads.
    • It is considered as a holy plant.