Rainforest

Tree trunks and sprouting leaves in the wet tropical rainforest

Rainforest tree trunks

Leaves sprouting from a tree trunk in the rainforest

Rainforest 1 – 3:  Looking back at some of the wondrous Nature seen on a trip of my lifetime to the wet tropical rainforest in Queensland, Australia, in 2011.

Cannonball Tree

Cairns Botanic Gardens in Queensland, Australia, is a wonderland of tropical plants. The gardens are extensive and basically divided into two halves. On one side of the road, beautiful gardens have been laid out in an explanatory way, with plants typical of tropical North Queensland but including flora from other countries where the climatic conditions are similar. These comprise the Flecker Garden  and the Gondwanaan Heritage Garden.  Cross the road to reach the wild side – where the forest has been left in its natural state and board walks lead visitors through a tangle of trees and swamp on the Rainforest Boardwalk and to the Freshwater and Saltwater Lakes.

The Cannonball Tree, Couroupita guianensis, is one of the non-native trees in the Flecker Garden – hailing from Tropical America but thriving in Queensland. It has large showy pink flowers with many stamens; and the fruit is large and rounded, resembling a melon – or indeed a cannonball.

The tree is also found in other tropical parts of the world where it has a religious significance. Different parts of the tree are used for medicinal purposes and are thought to have antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. See Couroupita guianensis for more information.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2012

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