Custard Apple

Common Name

Custard apple

Kingdom

Plantae

Division
Class

Order

Magnoliales

Family

Annonaceae

Genus

Annona

Species

reticulata

Native

Originates from the West Indies.

Characteristics

Fruits are 7 to 12 cm long. fruits have a round but rather irregular shape, sometimes heart-shaped. The surface is reticulated. When ripe the fruits can be greenish brown or yellowish. Some trees have rather purple colored fruits. The white flesh is soft and sweet.

Distribution

Custard apple is found throughout the tropics, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Australia, and West Africa.

Climate and weather

Custard apple prefers a warm humid climate.

Duration

Insect pests

The custard apple is heavily attacked by the chalcid fly. Many if not all of the fruits on a tree may be mummified before maturity. In India, the ripening fruits must be covered with bags or nets to avoid damage from fruit bats.

Diseases

A dry charcoal rot was observed on the fruits in Assam in 1947. In 1957 and 1958 it made its appearance at Saharanpur. 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.

Harvesting

It is picked when it has lost all green color and ripens without splitting so that it is readily sold in local markets. If picked green, it will not color well and will be of inferior quality. The tree is naturally a fairly heavy bearer. With adequate care, a mature tree will produce 75 to 100 lbs (34-45 kg) of fruits per year. The short twigs are shed after they have borne flowers and fruits.

Uses

Annona reticulata is best known for its fruit, the custard-apple. The flavor is sweet and pleasant, but less popular than that of Annona cherimola

Symptoms

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