Cannonball tree

Family • Lecythidaceae - Couroupita guianensis Aubl. - ABRICO DE MACACAO

Scientific names

Scientific name Linn.
Scientific name Linn.

Common names

Cannon ball tree (Engl.)
Shivaling (Hindi)
Coco de mono (Span.)
Abrico de Macaco (Span.)

cannonball tree

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Couroupita guianensis / Wikipedia

(2) Cannonball tree / National Tropical Botanical Garden

(3) SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION / D Kavitha / 2011 / shodhganga.inflibnet

(4) Protective effect against oxygen reactive species and skin fibroblast stimulation of Couroupita guianensis leaf extracts / Ana Martinez, Enma Conde, Andres Moure et al / Natural product research. 01/2011; DOI: 10.1080/14786411003752094

Cuoropita guianensis is a large evergreen tree growing to a height of 20 meters. Leaves are alternate, oblong-obovate, up to 20 centimeters long, entire to slightly serrate and hairy on the veins beneath. Inflorescence is racemose, arising from the trunk and other large branches. Flowers are reddish with a yellow tinge on the outside, fragrant, with stamens borne on an overarching androphore. Fruit is a large, reddish-brown globose, 15 to 24 centimeters, with a woody capsule, and each containing 200 to 300 seeds.

– Recent introduction.
– As ornamental trees along highways and in parks.
– Native to tropical northern South America, especially the Amazon rainforest, and the southern Carribean.
– Also occurs in India, where it is probably native, and Thailand.

– Flowers yield an alipathic hydrocarbon and stigmasterol.
– Flowers yielded alkaloids, phenolics and flavonoids.
– Yielded active principles isatin and indirubin (vital to its antimicrobial activity).
– Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids: 2′,4′-dihydroxy-6′-methoxy-3′,5′-dimethylchalcone, 7-hydroxy-5-methoxy-6,8-dimethylflavanone and the phenolic acid 4-hydroxybenzoic acid.

Considered antibiotifc, antifungal, antiseptic, and analgesic.

Parts used
Juice, leaves, fruit.

Fruits are edible, but only occasionally eaten because of the unpleasant odor of the white flesh.
No known medicinal use in the Philippines.
Elsewhere, used to treat colds and stomachaches.
Juice from leaves used for skin diseases.
Shamans of South America used tree parts for malaria.
Fruit pulp used to disinfect wounds.
Young leaves used for toothache.
Religious / Ritual: Hindus consider it a sacred tree as the petals of the flowers resemble the sacred snake, Naga, a cobra protecting a Shiva Lingam with its hood. In some parts of India, the tree is worshipped by childless couples.
Fragrance: Fragrant flowers can be used to scent perfumes and cosmetics.
Wood:  Hard shells of the fruit sometimes used as containers and utensils. Wood used for making incense.

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study showed antimicrobial activity against Shigella flexneri, Staph aureus and Candida albicans. The phenolic and flavonoid fractions showed strong antioxidant potential.
• Antinociceptive: Results showed Couroupita guianensis exhibited nociceptive activity mediated, in part, by opioid and cholinergic systems and the nitric oxide pathway.
• Wound Healing / Antimicrobial: Study of ethanolic extract of whole plant of CG (bark, leaves, flowers and fruits) on excision and incision wound models showed accelateration of the wound healing process by reduction of surface area of the wound and increasing tensile strength. Moderate activity was observed against all test organisms.
• Anthelmintic: Study tested the activity of chloroform, acetone and ethanolic flower extracts of CG for anthelmintic activity against adult earth worm, Pheritima posthuma. The alcholic extract was the most effect in an activity comparable with Piperazine citrate.
• Skin Fibroblast Proliferation / Antioxidant: Study of hydroalcoholic extract strongly indicated antioxidant activity attributed to phenolic content. Also, significant stimulation of HSF proliferation and absorption of UV radiation was noted. Results suggest promising skin care properties.

Leaves, plant plant parts in the cybermarket