Selected Trees and Shrubs
Couroupita guianensis, Common name: Cannon Ball Tree
Plant Family: Belongs to the Mimosaceae family whose members range from the imposing Saman or Rain Tree (Samanea saman)to the diminutive, recumbent Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica).
Description: Very large, very stately tree, up to 35 m in height (115 ft); large, yellowish, smooth trunk, powdery surface texture with exfoliating scales; wide-spreading, umbrella-shaped crown; leaves alternate and bipinnate, 9-12 cm long (3.5-4.7 in), with 5-10 pairs of opposite pinnae, each 3-5 cm long (1.2-2.0 in) with 30-55 pairs of pinnules 1-2 mm wide (0.04-0.08 in) by 5-9 mm long (0.2-0.35 in); wood heavy with medium texture, natural durability low but accepts preservatives well; roots rich in saponin; flowers white, fragrant and grouped in round, pedunculate heads, 1.5 cm across (0.6 in), flowering in March and April; fruit is flat, oblong, thin, dark tan pod, 6-14 cm long (2.3-5.5 in) by 1-2.5 cm wide (0.4-1 in), ripening August and September; one Gardens specimen-tree dominates slope to cricket field; tallest and most majestic tree in Gardens, about 27-30 m (90-100 ft) tall, with largest single trunk in Gardens, about 2.4 m across (7.6 ft), a veritable “forest giant”.
Natural Habitat: Thrives in dry tropical forests up to 1000 m altitude (3250 ft), with 500-2500 mm rainfall (20-100 in) and pronounced 4-7-month droughts, on alluvial soils with good drainage; withstands high, hurricane-grade winds; propagation by seed.
Origin and Distribution: Native to Trop. America and Southern Caribbean; now found throughout tropics with many specimens in sub-tropics; one specimen in Florida’s Fairchild Botanic Gardens reportedly is tallest tree in the state.
Uses: Used as ornamental for its beautiful, majestic habit; heavy wood of medium texture, moderately easy to work and polishes well; use varies from heavy construction, such as railroad foundations, to light woodwork including furniture and floors;medicinally, S. American Indians use saponin-rich roots to heal contusions and angina (saponins produce soap-like foaming when mixed with water); boiled bark used to heal scorpion bites.
E. M. Flores. Albizia niopoides (Spruce ex Benth.) Burkart. Academia National de Ciencias de Costa Rica, Costa Rica, July 2003(rngr.net/Publications/ttsm).
Botanical Features of Albizia Niopoides. International Workshop on Albizia and Paraserianthes Species. Surigao del Sur, Philippines, New Zealand Digital Library, University of Walkato, New Zealand, November 1994 (nzdl.sadl.uleth.ca/cgi-bin).
Arlington A. James. An Illustrated Guide to Dominica’s Botanic Gardens. Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Dominica 2007
Preface - How it Began
Introduction to Website
A Brief History
Plan of Gardens
Trees, Shrubs, Birds:
Selected Trees and Shrubs
Florida's Fairchild Garden
Birds of the Gardens
Three Virtual Tours
Panoramic Views Today
Early Panoramic Views
Hurricane David's Ravages
Reports and Documents
Treasures of the Cathedral
Diaspora Policy Paper
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