This tree is growing in downtown Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. It's about 12 feet tall, with large, hard, green fruits hanging like Christmas ornaments. The leaves are smallish, and dark green. Anyone know what it is?
id this tree?
It is the Mexican Calabash Tree, Crescentia alata.
LApalms' plant is Couroupita guianensis, the South American (Guianas) Canonball Tree.
Thank you! Thanks for both responses...
karen, who gardens in zone 8 USA, but is learning lots in Yucatan!
I agree with Crescentia alata. The calabashes that I have seen had a more oval shape, so maybe there can be some varience in the shape of the fruit. They are cool trees, too- some can have really funky unique growth habits.
Aloha Karen, welcome! Thanks for the picture, it's always so interesting to see new things - well new for me anyway!
Hey Fauna4flora, The oval looking Calabash tree that you refer to is probably Cresentia cujete.
Yes Fauna4flora, your plant is Cresentia cujete. Notice that the leaves are oblanceolate and acute, and come out in groups of two or more.
The fruit is ovoid (egg shaped).
The leaves on Cresentia alata are more oblong and rounded, and come out in threes.
The fruit is globular.
I don't know the botanical name for this tree but I do know that it belongs to the fig family. This tree does not flower and the fruit just appear from the stems and trunk of the tree. In Malaysia, we eat the flesh of the fruit which is supposedly good for lowering cholesterol and it has antioxidant properties. We break open the fruit like a coconut and boil the flesh for about an hour and drink the flat tasting water.
Figs have "inside out flowers/fruits". The flower in inside the fruit (or the fruit surrounds the flower). It's usually a wasp that gets inside the fruit and pollinates the flower.
Crescentia species are members of the Bignonia Family (Bignoniaceae). They have flowers with bell shaped corollas that appear along the trunk or main branches of the tree.
Yes, we have Crecentia cujete and C. alata. Very useful to carry water or any drink. Yes it belongs to my favorite Bignoniaceae. The flowers agre light green or cream. It can be reproduce by cuttings. An ideal tree to plant epiphitic orchids for example Cattleya.
This is timely. I'm redoing my yard and need a medium sized tree that is good for orchids and not super messy. I already have a huge banyan that drops leaves and fruit in the pool and I don't need another leaf dropper. I hadn't thought of a Calabasa tree. Does it drop a lot of leaves?
Metrosideros: Bignoniaceae has beautiful species. Its flowers are very showy for example Tabebuia rosea. T. chrysantha, vine- Pyrostegia venusta= Preciosisima!!, Tecoma stans, Spathodea campanulata, Jacaranda mimosiifolia! and a lot of different species of vines. I like the bell shape of its flower in some cases kind of tubular to atrract hummingbirds.
This family of plants has a lot of species that are climbers.
extranjera, Crescentia is a good selection to plant orchids. The bark is corky. If you don t have Acnistus arborescens= Solanaceae, so you can use Crescentia. My Mom had a tree where she planted her orchids. The best one is Acnistus. Well at least in this region of the world.
Hiya Karen! I'd like to add my welcome to Jenny's (Braveheartsmom). We blather a lot in this forum, but are all good friends, play off topic, learn tons, share lots of pics, talk story and general have a good time. Good to have you join us. Great pic of the tree!
The problem with the Acnistus arborescens is the multitude of fruit, it will attract more bats and drop more litter in the pool. I already have a lot of fruits and leaves from the Banyan (probably Ficus citrifolia) and the bats that it attracts when fruiting make it difficult to sit outside in the evenings without getting splattered. I would like to find a tree that doesn't produce significant fruit and doesn't have a huge leaf drop in one season. It also needs to be medium sized as I don't have a lot of room and the banyan covers much of the yard. The banyan isn't even in my yard, it is growing on the wall between my neighbors yards. It's huge, it shades 5 or 6 yards in the middle of the block.