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Couroupita nicaraguensis - Bala de canon


Native to:



Southern Central America, Colombia and Ecuador.

Forests: Semi tropical, semi-deciduous, swampy. Up to 1400 meters above sea level. 30 meter tall tree.

Couroupita nicaraguensis - Bala de canon

Ecological value:

Pollen is very attractive to bees and other pollinators. The fruit is consumed by mammals including White-fronted capuchin monkeys.

Material uses:

Wood is lightweight but not durable. Susceptible to termites and fungi. Used traditionally for objects of lower value such as match sticks and crates but also for furniture and instruments, as well as fiber-boards.

Edible uses:

Fruits are edible but not widely sought after because of pungent scent.

Medicinal use:

Used to treat hypertension, tumors, pain, inflammation, common cold, skin conditions, wounds, malaria, and toothaches. Pulp is rubbed on dogs to treat mange.

Other details:

There are three species in this genus. The flowers distinguish the species: C. guianensis and C. subsessilis have a ‘appendage-free ligule’ - a staminode and stamen free area between the staminal ring and the hood. Otherwise the fruit are indistinguishable between species.


Peaches Harrison/Christine Facella


“Couroupita Nicaraguarensis DC. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 7, 2023.
“No Record - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
St, The New York Botanical Garden Scott Mori 200th. n.d. “Taxon Details – Lecythidaceae.” Accessed November 27, 2023.
Image sources: Christine Facella and Mokkie.

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