Custard Apple - [Annona reticulata]
Thought to have originated in the West Indies, the custard apple was
transported all around the world by traders in the 16th century. Requiring
a moist tropical climate it can not be grown in California and is a bit
marginal even in Florida. Custard apple fruit is pleasant tasting but
considered inferior to the Cherimoya and Sweetsop. In India it is eaten only
by the lower classes but is not class sensitive in the rest of the world. It
is often pressed through a sieve and added to ice cream and milk shakes or
blended with other fruit such as bananas.
Photo California Department of Food and Agriculture, copyright
Llama - [Annona diversifolia]
A few Llama are grown in Florida, but this fruit is otherwise restricted
to the west coast of Central America. The fruit is somewhat elongated and
studded with shallow triangular protrubences. The rind may be pale green to
pink or purple and covered with a velvety light grey bloom. The fruit is
variable from juicy to rather dry with slightly tart flesh which will be
white in green fruit to rose in pink or purple fruit. Yield is uncertain
so it's unlikely to become commercially exploited to any great degree.
Pawpaw - [Prairie Banana, Kentucky Banana,
Ozark banana, Asimina triloba]
A temperate zone tree native to the Southeast USA. The thin skinned
fruit, yellow to brownish when ripe, is smooth and shaped roughly like a plump
mango, 3 to 6 inches long and weighing up to a pound. The flesh is creamy and
ranges in flavor between banana and mango depending on cultivar. Paw Paw is
not yet a commercial crop but is being developed as one with some success -
uncertain pollination is a problem. Growers sometimes resort to hanging
rotting chicken necks in the orchards to attract the blow flies and carrion
beetles this plant depends on for pollination. Shipping is another problem
so the fruits are often pulped and the pulp frozen for shipment. Note:
In Australia the name "Pawpaw" is used for mangos.
Photo U.S. Department of Agriculture - public domain
Pond Apple - [Alligator apple, Monkey
apple, Annona glabra]
Pond Apple is native to the West Indies and grows wild all over the
Caribbean area and prolifically in the Florida Everglades. Unfortunately
it isn't considered very good eating compared to other Annonas and the
flesh is said to be narcotic. The smooth skinned oblong fruits, between
3 and 6 inches long, are eaten fresh locally and made into jam and wine
but this fruit is not exploited commercially. Pond apple is often used for
root stock on which to grow other species because the roots are extremely
tolerant of flooding. Pond apple root stock imported for grafting has
escaped and become perhaps the worst invasive pest plant in northern Australia.
Meanwhile they're trying to restore pond apple habitat in Florida.
Photo by Shirley Denton - permission?
Soursop - [Guanabana, Graviola (Brazil),
Native to the West Indies, soursop is now the most grown Annona throughout
the tropics. The fruits are relatively large, up to 12 inches long and 6
inches in diameter, thin skinned and covered with tiny spines which rub off
easily. Available as fresh fruit only near where it is
grown, most soursop is processed into ice cream, sherbets and beverages. I
have purchased cans of soursop in syrup in Southern California and found
its flavor quite enjoyable. It can be blended into deserts and fruit drinks.
Photo reported to be U.S. Government - public domain but obtained
from California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Sweetsop - [Sugar apple, Anon,
The Sugar Apple is the most widely grown Annona species. It's origin is
uncertain but possibly around the Caribbean basin. It was carried
worldwide by traders in the 16th century. Requiring a wet tropical or near
tropical environment. sweetsop is not grown in California due to cold
winters but a few are grown in Florida. The fruit is generally just broken
apart into segments and the creamy flesh stripped from the seeds in the
mouth. The seeds are quite toxic but are so hard they will cause no harm
if accidentally swallowed. The photo specimen, from an Asian market in
Los Angeles and mislabeled custard apple, was previously frozen so is a
bit off color.