From the Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits
by Wilson Popenoe
The Bullock's Heart
Annona reticulata L.
The bullock's-heart, although widely grown, is a fruit of little
value. Compared with the sugar-apple and the cherimoya it lacks flavor.
An occasional seedling produces fruit of fair quality, but there is no
reason why this species should be cultivated when the sugar-apple and
the ilama can be produced on the same ground.
The tree is
commonly 20 to 25 feet high. It is semi-deciduous, sometimes remaining
devoid of foliage for several weeks. The leaves are oblong- lanceolate
or lanceolate in form, commonly 4 to 6 inches in length, acute, and
glabrate. The flowers are borne in small clusters upon the new
branchlets. The three outer petals are oblong linear, about an inch
long; the inner ones small, scale-like, and ovate in form. The fruit is
usually heart-shaped (whence its common name), but it may be conical or
oval. It weighs from a few ounces to 2 pounds, and requires a long time
to reach maturity. The smooth surface, usually reddish-yellow or
reddish-brown in the ripe fruit, is divided by impressed lines into
rhomboidal or hexagonal areoles. The flesh, which contains numerous
brown seeds the size of a small bean, is milk-white in color, granular
near the thin skin, and sweet, even mawkish in flavor.
Fig. 26. The bullock's-heart (Annona reticulata), a fruit widely cultivated in the tropics. (X 1/2)
Safford says of this species: "Its fruit is inferior in flavor to both the cherimoya and the sugar-apple (A. squamosa),
from the first of which it may be distinguished by its long, narrow,
glabrate leaves, and from the second by its solid, compact fruit as
well as its larger leaves. From A. glabra,
with which it is also confused, it may be distinguished readily by its
elongate narrow outer petals and its small, dark brown seeds."
bullock's-heart is indigenous in tropical America. It is more abundant
in the gardens of seacoast and lowland towns than its value warrants.
From America it has been carried to the Asiatic tropics, and it is now
cultivated in India, Ceylon, the Malay Archipelago, Polynesia,
Australia, and Africa. Vaughan MacCaughey says that it is not very
common in Hawaii, but may be found in a few gardens. In the Philippines
and in Guam it has become spontaneous.
One West Indian common name of this fruit, custard-apple, is applied in India to A. squamosa, and sometimes in America to A. Cherimola and other species. In India A. reticulata
is often termed ramphal (fruit of Rama). In Mexico the Spanish names
are anona and anona colorada; the Aztec name, which appears in the
early work of Francisco Hernandez, was quauht-zapotl, or tree zapote.
In the French colonies the name cachi-man or cachiman caeur-de-boeuf is
generally used. In Brazil it is called in Portuguese coracao de boi.
far as is known the tree has never fruited in California, the climate
of that state being probably too cold for it. It has been planted in
protected situations there but no specimens have reached large size. In
southern Florida it grows and fruits well. P. W. Reasoner, 1 who
apparently confused this species with the cherimoya, says that it is
confined to the same territory in Florida as the sugar-apple. Its
requirements seem to be about the same as those of A. squamosa.
It does not appear to be so partial, however, to a dry climate. The
mature tree will withstand several degrees of frost without serious
harm; a temperature of 27° or 28° usually does not injure it
severely. In Ceylon, according to H. F. Macmillan, it does not grow at
elevations above 3000 feet. In tropical America it ascends to the same
altitude, or occasionally to 3500 feet.
prefers a deep rich soil with plenty of moisture. It is propagated by
budding in the same manner as the cherimoya. P. J. Wester has found
that it can be budded on the soursop, the pond-apple, and the
sugar-apple, as well as on seedlings of its own species. As a rule, the
trees bear more freely than those of the soursop and cherimoya, but not
more so than the sugar-apple. There are as yet no named varieties in
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