Jamaican Custard Apple Tree Seed, TROPICAL FRUIT
Jamaican apple, netted custard apple, sugar apple
The Sugar Apple Annona squamosa is a small deciduous tree that only reaches a height in Florida of about 20 to 25 feet. Native to Central America this grows best in warm frost free areas. The leaves are alternate, 6-8 inches long and thin, and the tree loses those leaves shortly after Christmas and is bare for about four to six weeks. Flowers appear with the leaves in the spring and the fruit ripens starting in mid to late summer through late fall.
Annona reticulata is a low, erect tree, with a rounded or spreading crown and trunk 25-35 cm thick. Height ranges from 5-10 m. The ill-smelling leaves are deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrow-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, with conspicuous veins. Flowers, in drooping clusters, are fragrant, slender, with 3 outer fleshy, narrow petals 2-3 cm long; light-green externally and pale-yellow with a dark-red or purple spot on the inside at the base. The flowers never fully open. The compound fruit, 8-16 cm in diameter, may be symmetrically heart-shaped, lopsided, irregular, or nearly round, or oblate, with a depression at the base. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when ripe, with a pink, reddish or brownish-red blush, and faintly, moderately, or distinctly reticulated. There is a thick, cream-white layer of custard-like, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin surrounding the concolorous moderately juicy segments, in many of which there is a single, hard, dark-brown or black, glossy seed, oblong, smooth, less than 1.25 cm long. Actual seed counts have been 55, 60 and 76. A pointed, fibrous, central core, attached to the thick stem, extends more than halfway through the fruit.
Fruits, once mature, can be cleaned and the pulp frozen for many months for future use. If close to salt water, protect sugar apples from direct ocean spray since this may cause burning of the thin leaves.
Sugar apples make great container plants, too, so if you don't have much space try growing these in a 10 or 15 gallon tub, and they will still reward you with a number of delicious fruit.
Trees in the landscape should be fertilized every three to four months with a citrus or palm type fertilizer containing good levels of micro-nutrients. In highly alkaline soil deficiencies may develop that require nutritional sprays to correct.