Thursday, 4 February 2016

Hotel Updates: Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

The History of the Great Cannonball Tree at Hilton Northolme

The Cannonball Tree and Hilton Northolme share a great legacy in Seychelles! The Cannonball Tree is the great witness of the history of the resort, which was one of the first hotels built in Mahe at the beginning of the 19th Century. The Cannonball Tree at Hilton  Northolme is 1 of only 2 of these trees in Seychelles. The second one is in the Botanical Gardens in Victoria. The tree back in the day was a gift from the government of Seychelles to the owners of Northolme.

Couroupita guianensis, whose common names include Ayahuma and the Cannonball Tree, is an evergreen tree allied to the Brazil Nut, and is native to tropical northern South America and to the southern Caribbean. 

In India it has been growing for the past two or three thousand years at least, as attested by textual records; hence it is possible that it is native to India also. The "Cannonball Tree" is so called because of its brown cannon-ball-like fruits. 

The majority of these trees outside their natural environment have been planted as a botanical curiosity, as they grow very large, distinctive flowers.

Medicinal Uses 

The Cannonball Tree possesses antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. The trees are used to cure colds and stomach aches. Juice made from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases, and shamans of South America have even used tree parts for treating malaria. The inside of the fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves ease toothache. 

Fruits and Dispersal
The tree gets its common name from the large, spherical fruits it produces. The fruit falls from the tree and cracks open when it hits the ground when mature, often causing the sound of a small explosion. The fruit emits an unpleasant aroma when exposed to the air. Individual seeds within the "ball" are coated with hair, which is thought to protect the seed when it is ingested and may also help in the passage of the seed through the intestines. 

The cannonball tree and it's fruit are thought by some to be remnants of the last ice age, like the "hedge apple" or "osage orane" of north America. Like coconut palms, the trees should not be planted near paths or near traffic-filled areas, as the heavy nut is known to fall without notice.

Flowers and Pollination

 Cannonball Tree flowers do not have nectar, so these flowers are mainly visited by bees in search of pollen; outside the native range of habitat, carpenter bees are considered to be the principal pollinators. Both the fruit and the flower grow from stalks which sprout from the trunk of the tree. In pollination, fertile stamens can be found in a ring around reduced style and stamens. The sterile pollen is located in the anthers. As a bee enters to pollinate the flower, its back rubs against the ring with fertile pollen; this allows the bee to carry the fertile pollen to another flower.

Come see this fascinating tree for yourself, come stay at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa.

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