Sugar-apple – Sweetsopannona squamosa
Annona asiatica L.
Annona squamosa is a small, well-branched tree or shrub from the family Annonaceae that bears edible fruits called sugar-apples. It tolerates a tropical lowland climate better than its relatives Annona reticulata and Annona cherimola (whose fruits often share the same name) helping make it the most widely cultivated of these species.Annona squamosa is a small, semi-(or late) deciduous, much branched shrub or small tree 3 metres (9.8 ft) to 8 metres (26 ft) tall very similar to soursop (Annona muricata) with a broad, open crown or irregularly spreading branches and a short trunk short, not buttressed at the base. The fruit of A. squamosa (sugar-apple) has delicious whitish pulp, and is popular in tropical markets.
- Stems and leaves
- Branches with light brown bark and visible leaf scars; inner bark light yellow and slightly bitter; twigs become brown with light brown dots (lenticels - small, oval, rounded spots upon the stem or branch of a plant, from which the underlying tissues may protrude or roots may issue).
- Thin, simple, alternate leaves occur singly, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) to 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long and 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) wide; rounded at the base and pointed at the tip (oblong-lanceolate). Pale green on both surfaces and mostly hairless with slight hairs on the underside when young. The sides sometimes are slightly unequal and the leaf edges are without teeth, inconspicuously hairy when young.
- Leaf stalks are 0.4 centimetres (0.16 in) to 2.2 centimetres (0.87 in) long, green, and sparsely pubescent.
- Solitary or in short lateral clusters of 2-4 about 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) long, greenish-yellow flowers on a hairy, slender 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long stalk. Three green outer petals, purplish at the base, oblong, 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) to 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) long, and 0.6 centimetres (0.24 in) to 0.75 centimetres (0.30 in) wide, three inner petals reduced to minute scales or absent. Very numerous stamens; crowded, white, less than 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) long; ovary light green. Styles white, crowded on the raised axis. Each pistil forms a separate tubercle (small rounded wartlike protuberance), mostly 1.3 centimetres (0.51 in) to 1.9 centimetres (0.75 in) long and 0.6 centimetres (0.24 in) to 1.3 centimetres (0.51 in) wide which matures into the aggregate fruit.
- Flowering occurs in spring-early summer and flowers are pollinated by nitidulid beetles.
- Fruits and reproduction
- Aggregate and soft fruits form from the numerous and loosely united pistils of a flower which become enlarged and mature into fruits which are distinct from fruits of other species of genus (and more like a giant raspberry instead).
- The round or heart-shaped greenish yellow, ripened aggregate fruit is pendulous on a thickened stalk; 5 centimetres (2.0 in) to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in diameter with many round protuberances and covered with a powdery bloom. Fruits are formed of loosely cohering or almost free carpels (the ripened pistels).
- The pulp is white tinged yellow, edible and sweetly aromatic. Each carpel containing an oblong, shiny and smooth, dark brown to black, 1.3 centimetres (0.51 in) to 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) long seed.