Annona squamosa the tree whose fruits are similar to custard apples

annona squamosa

Do you like custard apples? Have you ever considered having a tree to enjoy them as soon as you are ready to consume them? For sure yes. But what you may not know is that there is a tree whose fruits are similar to custard apples. We refer to the Annona squamosa, have you heard of it?

In this article you will learn a little more about this tree, when to plant it, how to care for it, when to collect and other details that will help you if you decide to have it in your garden. Shall we start?

What is Annona squamosa like?

annona in tree

Annona squamosa is usually known by other different and more common names, such as sugar apple, kidney, saramuyo, custard apple, or ates. It is a small tree, because It usually does not exceed 8 meters in height. Its trunk branches at a very low height. Even so, it has a black to gray bark and this peels off easily from the wood in long strips (in fact, it is used as an astringent). It has alternate leaves, that is, if one grows on the right, the next will be on the left), and they are quite simple. Its size reaches approximately 17 centimeters in length while the width remains at a maximum of 5 centimeters.

During the flowering season, the tree It produces flowers in the form of clusters. But they are not too big, since they are made up of about three or four flowers between 1,5 and 3 centimeters wide. They have a total of six petals that can come in different shades between yellow and green. At the base that joins them all you will notice that it is purple. And after the flowers comes the fruit, the most characteristic of this tree.

The fruits are round or oval. You are told that it is similar to a cherimoya because the fruit of the Annona squamosa is almost identical to a cherimoya. But it has its differences. To begin with, the entire fruit is covered with green scales that are noticeable to the touch. Each one will weigh between 100 and 230 grams. When it is ripe, when you open it you will notice that the pulp is white and has smooth brown seeds. As for the flavor, they say it is very sweet, and also very nutritious.

What is the habitat of Annona squamosa?

The natural habitat of the Annona squamosa is varied, since these trees can be found in the tropical and subtropical areas of America, but also in other countries.

In general, it needs a warm place throughout the year, since it cannot tolerate the cold and can die. It also does not tolerate drought, it needs almost constant humidity and watering and as for the sun, it prefers sifted sun rather than direct sun.

What is the difference between Annona squamosa and cherimoya?

apple fruit

Only connoisseurs really know what the difference is between Annona squamosa and cherimoya. And many times we think that Anona is a custard apple when in reality it is not.

Annona squamosa differs from cherimoya in two very important aspects:

  • On the one hand, in the pulp. The Anona has a much creamier pulp than the cherimoya, and therefore, it will be sweeter.
  • On the other hand, the shell. When the cherimoya ripens, it retains its dark green color. But in the case of the Anona, it turns a reddish color.

Furthermore, cherimoya can be grown in cold places, but the same does not happen with Annona, as we have told you, it is necessary to grow them in warm areas.

How to plant and care for it

If after what we have told you you decide to have an Annona squamosa in your garden, because you meet the necessary habitat requirements, then it is important that you know how to plant it, when, how to care for it and when it will bear fruit.

When and how to plant it

The ideal moment for Planting the Anona is always at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. The seeds of the fruits are used to grow new trees. But these are not placed directly in the ground, but for better germination it is best to leave them in warm or hot water for about 24 hours so that they hydrate. Afterwards, it is planted at a shallow depth in a soil very rich in organic matter.

Some experts also multiply this tree through directly planted woody cuttings. But it is a process that can be complicated, although it would save you growing time if it grabs well and starts to grow.

How to take care of it

As you have seen in what we have told you, Annona squamosa is not an easy plant to care for. Needs a good constant temperature of between 22 and 25ºC so that it succeeds.

It also requires continuous watering without the soil becoming waterlogged, and humidity to try to resemble its natural habitat.

It does not tolerate the cold, but neither does the wind. And you have to be very aware of pests and diseases that could damage the fruits or the tree itself.

When to collect

ripe apple

Once you have planted an Anona and it has grown, it will not bear fruit the first year, but will take about three years to do so. A five-year-old tree can give you up to 50 fruits. Now, how do you know when they are?

There are several signs:

  • You will notice the peel is softer than normal.
  • You will see that the color of the shell changes. It normally goes from dark green to light green, to yellow or to having spots or turning red.
  • It can be opened when it is ripe, revealing the white pulp.

When picking it up you must do it carefully. Note that It will be ripe, and that means that if you press it too hard, you will sink your fingers into the fruit. It is best to collect one at a time and cut off a little of the stem to avoid damaging the fruit. Once separated from the tree you can remove that part of the stem more easily.

As you can see, the Annona squamosa is a striking tree and there is no doubt that its fruits resemble those of the custard apple, but with those different aspects. Have you ever seen or eaten an Anona? Did you like it better than cherimoya?

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