from Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0
by Orwa C, A Mutua, Kindt R , Jamnadass R, S Anthony
Annona reticulata L.
Local Names: Dutch (boeah
nona,kasjoema); English (Jamaican apple,bullock's heart,custard
apple,sugar apple,netted custard apple); Filipino (sarikaya); French
(bois cachiman,cachiman,coeur de boeuf,corossol sauvage); Hindi
(luvun,nonai,ramphal); Khmer (mo bat,mean bat); Lao (Sino-Tibetan)
(khan tua lot); Malay (lonang,nona kapri); Portuguese
(coração de boi,condesa); Spanish (anona
colorada,mamon,anona rosada,anona roja,anona de seso,anona de
redecilla,corazón); Thai (noi nong); Vietnamese (qua na,binh bat)
Annona reticulata is a
low, erect tree, with a rounded or spreading crown and trunk 25-35 cm
thick. Height ranges from 5-10 m. The ill-smelling leaves are
deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrowlanceolate, 10-20 cm long, 2-5 cm
wide, with conspicuous veins. Flowers, in drooping clusters, are
fragrant, slender, with 3 outer fleshy, narrow petals 2-3 cm long;
light-green externally and pale-yellow with a dark-red or purple spot
on the inside at the base. The flowers never fully open.
compound fruit, 8-16 cm in diameter, may be symmetrically heartshaped,
lopsided, irregular, or nearly round, or oblate, with a depression at
the base. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when
ripe, with a pink, reddish or brownish-red blush, and faintly,
moderately, or distinctly reticulated. There is a thick, cream-white
layer of custard-like, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin
surrounding the concolorous moderately juicy segments, in many of which
there is a single, hard, darkbrown or black, glossy seed, oblong,
smooth, less than 1.25 cm long. Actual seed counts have been 55, 60 and
76. A pointed, fibrous, central core, attached to the thick stem,
extends more than halfway through the fruit.
The short twigs are shed after they have borne flowers and fruits.
is a pantropic tree that grows between 0-1 500 m in the areas of
central America that have alternating seasons, and has spread to south
America. The custard apple tree needs a tropical climate and it
flourishes in the coastal lowlands of Ecuador to 1 500 m. In Guatemala,
it is nearly always found below 1 220 m. In India, it does well from
the plains up to an elevation of 1 220 m while in Sri Lanka, it cannot
be grown above 915 m. Around Luzon in the Philippines, it is common
below 800 m. Leaves are shed at the first onset of cold weather and the
tree is dormant all winter. Fully grown, it has survived temperatures
of 3º-2ºC without serious harm. This species is not
drought-tolerant and prefers a more humid atmosphere.
Altitude: 0-1 500 m
Mean annual Temperature: 10-22ºC
Soil type: The custard apple does best in low-lying, deep, rich soil with ample moisture and good drainage. It grows to full
size on oolithic limestone in southern Florida and grows wild in light sand and various other types of soils.
Documented Species distribution
map above shows countries where the species has been planted. It does
neither suggest that the species can be planted in every ecological
zone within that country, nor that the species can not be planted in
other countries than those depicted. Since some tree species are
invasive, you need to follow biosafety procedures that apply to your
Exotic range: Belize, Guatemala
Native range: Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Guam, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, US
In India, the fruit is eaten only by the lower classes, out-of-hand. In
central America, Mexico and the west Indies, the fruit is appreciated
by all. When fully ripe it is soft to the touch and the stem and
attached core can be easily pulled out. The flesh may be scooped from
the skin and eaten as is or served with light cream and a sprinkling of
sugar. Often it is pressed through a sieve and added to milk shakes,
custards or ice cream. A sauce is made by blending the seeded flesh
with mashed banana and cream.
Fibre: A fiber derived from the young twigs is superior to the bark fiber from Annona squamosa.
Custard apple wood is yellow, rather soft, fibrous but durable,
moderately close-grained, with a specific gravity of 0.65. It is used
to make yokes for oxen.
Tannin or dyestuff: The leaves have been employed in tanning and they yield a blue or black dye.
The seeds are so hard that they may be swallowed whole with no ill
effects but the kernels are very toxic. The seeds, leaves and young
fruits are insecticidal. The leaf juice kills lice. The bark contains
0.12% anonaine. Sap from cut branches is acrid and irritant and can
severely injure the eyes. The root bark has yielded 3 alkaloids:
anonaine, liriodenine and reticuline (muricinine).
decoction of the leaf is given as a vermifuge. Crushed leaves or a
paste of the flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The
unripe fruit is rich in tannin It is dried, pulverized and employed
against diarrhea and dysentery. The bark is very astringent and the
decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhea and
dysentery. In severe cases, the leaves, bark and green fruits are all
boiled together for 5 minutes in a litre of water to make an
exceedingly potent decoction. Fragments of the root bark are put around
the gums to relieve toothache. The root decoction is taken as a
tree is fast growing and responds well to mulching, organic fertilizers
and frequent irrigation if there is dry weather during the growing
period. The form of the tree may be improved by judicious pruning. The
custard apple has the advantage of cropping in late winter and spring
when the preferred members of the genus are not in season. The tree is
naturally a fairly heavy bearer. With adequate care, a mature tree will
produce 34-45 kg of fruits/year.
Seeds remain viable for more than 12 months in air-dry storage at 5 deg. C.
Pests and Diseases
custard apple is heavily attacked by the chalcid fly. Many, if not all
of the fruits on a tree may be dried up before maturity. In India, the
ripening fruits are covered with bags or nets to avoid damage from
fruit bats. A dry charcoal rot was observed on the fruits in Assam in
1947. The causal fungus was identified as Diplodia annonae. The
infection begins at the stem end of the fruit and gradually spreads
until it covers the entire fruit.
1986. Genetic resources of tropical and subtropical fruits and nuts
(excluding Musa). International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome.
Jackson D. 1986. Temperate and subtropical fruit production. Butterworth Horticultural Books.
FW, Campbell CW & Ruberte RM. 1987. Perennial edible fruits of
tropics: an inventory. US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture
Handbook No. 642. 252 pp.