Couroupita guianensis, alias cannonball tree

Impressive twists of nature lend themselves easily to be incorporated into legends. This strange tree, with its mass of flowers bursting directly from the stem, plays a centerpiece in some of them.
It is found in many Thai temple grounds, as the story goes that Lord Buddha was born in its shade. In reality he was born in India under a Shorea robusta, also known as ‘Sal tree’. The Couroupita, native to South America, was named ‘Sala tree’ upon introduction in Sri Lanka, which has led to a persistent misunderstanding.
In India the tree is grown at Shiva temples as it is considered sacred by Hindus, who see a naga in the shape of the flower.

December 2020, by Karolien Bais

Plants can be equally striking for their smell or stench, their stubbornness or benevolence, their secrecy or exuberance. Whatever their features, they can make my day.
Here are some of my doozies.

Couroupita guianensis, alias cannonball tree

Amherstia nobilis, alias Pride of Burma

Dendrobium crumenatum, alias pigeon orchid

Gloriosa superba, alias juju lily

Eucharis grandiflora, alias Amazon lily

Murraya koenigii, alias curry leaf

Scadoxus multiflorus, alias blood lily

Rothmannia longiflora, alias ivory trumpet

Furcraea selloa, alias false agave

Tacca chantrieri, alias bat flower

Bauhinia pottsii, alias orchid tree