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Annona squamosa L.

Family Name: Annonaceae
Synonyms: Alphonsea forskahlii, Annona asiatica, Alphonsea cinerea, Xylopia frutescens, Guanabanus squamosus, Annona glabra
Common Name: Sugar Apple, Custard Apple, Sweetsop, Buah Nona, Seri Kaya, Anona, Nona, Bullock's Heart, 番荔枝

Annona squamosa, also known as Custard Apple, is a small tree with fragrant pendulous flowers and edible fruit. The sweet tasting fruit are usually round-ish in shape with a knobby surface.

Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Caterpillar Food Plant Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Dry Soils / Drought Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m), Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular, Open
Maximum Height 3 m to 6 m


Native Distribution Caribbean, Central America & Northeastern S. America
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small tree with an open, irregular crown.
Foliage Leaves are elliptic to oblong with rounded to acute apex (5-15 cm long, 2 - 5 cm wide). Leaves are alternate with entire leaf margins.
Flowers Fragrant yellowish green flowers hang downwards either singly or in groups of 2 - 4. Each oblong flower has 3 elongated outer petals and 3 inconspicuous inner petals (2.5 - 4 cm long).
Fruits Fruit are usually round with a knobby surface. The sweet and juicy flesh occurs in elongated segments, each surrounding a brown to black, oblong seed (1 cm long). Each fruit has 20 - 40 seeds.
Others - Plant Morphology Habitat: Widely cultivated in the tropics for its fruit.
Cultivation This species grows well on a variety of soil types that have good drainage. Apply a 3-10-10 NPK fertilizer to maximize fruit production. Propagate by seed, grafting or budding. It is most commonly propagated by seed. For maximum germination, remove the seeds from the flesh and let dry for one week before sowing. Propagation by grafting may yield high quality fruit in a shorter time period than by seed. It is susceptible to seed borers (Bephratelloides cubensis, Bephratelloides maculicollis, Bephratelloides ruficollis, Bephratelloides paraguayensis), scale insects (Philephedra sp.), beetles, mealybugs and fungal diseases (Colletotrichum annonicola, Glomerella cingulata).
Etymology The genus "Annona" is the Latin American name for the harvest goddess. The species epithet "squamosa" is derived from the Latin word for scale or scale-like. The reference is to the immature fruit's scaly appearance.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Herb and Spice;Fruit & Vegetable)
[Others]: Food: The fruit is consumed raw. It is especially popular in Brazil and India. In Malaya, the fruit is added to milk and ice cream. Medicine: Bark extracts contain compounds that protect against cancer (Suresh et al. 2006). In many parts of tropical America, a leaf decoction is used to treat colds and digestive / urinary ailments. Caution: Seeds contain toxic chemicals. A solution of ground seeds mixed with water may cause blindness upon contact with the eyes.

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Caterpillar Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Planting Distance From 3
Propagation Method Seed, Grafting
Propagation Method Remarks Budding


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Rounded
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 ), Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Green
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green, Yellow / Golden
Fruit Classification Aggregate Fruit (Syncarp)
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown, Black
Mature Seed Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny

Image Repository



Master ID 1420
Species ID 2713
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 October 2021.