Monday, 8 February 2010

Cannonball Tree

 

Tonight's offering is a drawing of the flower and fruits of the Cannonball Tree -- what a scary name for a tree!

The tree gets its name from the large, spherical fruit it produces.  These fruit fall from the tree and crack open when they hit the ground, often causing the sound of a small explosion.  The fruit emits an unpleasant aroma when exposed to the air.  So, "like coconut palms, the trees should not be planted near paths or near traffic-filled areas, as the heavy fruit is known to fall without notice."  No kidding!

The strange looking flowers are found on thick, tangled extrusions that grow on the trunk of the tree, just below the foliage branches.  These extrusions can range from two to six feet in length.  The flowers are attached to an upwardly bent, white, fleshy disk.  The flowers have six petals which are large, orange-red and strongly perfumed.  I suppose this helps to cover up the bad smell of the ripe fruit!

The Cannonball Tree, properly called Couroupita guianensis (Family, Lecythidaceae), is commonly found in the area of the Amazon Basin.  It is native to Guiana in South America.  It is also found in India where it is grown extensively in Shiva temples.

This various parts of this tree posses antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities.  Local medicines are made from the tree for the treatment of colds and stomach aches.  The juice from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases.  The inside of the stinky fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves ease toothache.

All in all, I think these are some of the strangest looking flowers I have ever tried drawing.   


  

Tonight's photo shows that many kitty cats will take whatever lap they can find, especially when it is in the sunshine!

Speaking of cats, I have had a rough day with miz k.d.  In fact, it is her fault that I am so late in writing my post.  miz k.d. is sick.
I knew she wasn't well when I awoke this morning and found her all curled up on my chest.  She never sleeps there unless she is feeling unwell.  She seemed very lethargic and totally uninterested in food or water.  I called the vet right away and she agreed to stop by at the end of her day.  She and her assistant got here about 6:15 and finally finished up about 7:40.  Poor miz k.d. -- how she suffered.  But by the time the vet left, miz k.d. had been given medication to settled her stomach and bring her fever down.  She had also been hydrated, had blood and urine samples taken and I was a whole lot poorer than I was this morning!  Now I have to wait for the lab reports to see what is really going on.  I get to worry while miz k.d. sleeps!

May peace be with us all.

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