Cannonball tree or ayahuma
The words ‘striking’ and ‘strange’ are often used to describe this large evergreen tree from the northern parts of South America. The colourful flowers hang in long clusters (terminal racemes) from the trunk and mature limbs of the tree. Each individual flower is unusual, and has a lopsided floral structure. They can grow to 6 cm in diameter, and are yellow-red on the outside and red-to-pink on the inside. They also have a distinctive fragrance. Cannonball-like fruit follow, reaching 20 cm or more in diameter, and hang down the length of the trunk. Each woody fruit capsule is filled with numerous red-brown seeds embedded in a fleshy pulp. The cannonball tree is a magnificent tropical tree that is rarely found growing in local gardens.